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Did U.S. Pressure to Curb Israeli Arms Sales Prompt Peace Accord?


Kennedy, Tim. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  4 (Dec 31, 1993): 6.


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Did U.S. Pressure to Curb Israeli Arms Sales Prompt Peace Accord?

The 14 rounds of secret negotiations in Oslo between Israel's Labor government and the Palestine Liberation Organization that led to the agreement signed Sept. 13 at the White House caught participants in the 22-month-long Middle East peace talks by surprise. Mideast specialists in the American defense and intelligence communities, however, have long been predicting that shifts in U.S. policies regarding Israel eventually would force Israel to alter the way it conducts its affairs.

"It's a matter of cause and effect," says a Mideast expert at the State Department. "We finally realized that the threat of withholding funding was the only tangible influence that we could apply. It's quite possible that Israel's sudden willingness to budge a little in the peace negotiations is an indirect product of that influence.”

Some U.S. government sources credit shifts in Israel's attitude toward Palestinian self-determination to policies implemented by the administration of President Bill Clinton regarding arms proliferation, foreign aid and financial oversight at the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Military Assistance Agency.

A first indication of significant changes in U.S.-Israel relations was the public statement last March by newly appointed ambassador to Israel William Harrop that "it may prove difficult" for the United States to continue giving such large amounts of foreign aid to Israel, which amounted to $4 billion in military and economic aid and $2 billion in U.S. loan guarantees in 1993.

The Clinton administration subsequently dismissed Harrop for what it called a statement contrary to U.S. policy. But there were other indications of a hardening attitude toward Israeli misconduct in various parts of the U.S. government.

Israel officially denies that it possesses nuclear arms, but defectors such as Mordechai Vanunu, investigative reporters like Seymour Hersh, author of The Samson Option, and former U.S. President Richard Nixon all have described Israel's atomic weapons programs. Last May, Inside Israel, an investigative journal published in Jerusalem, reported that Louis Dunn, the former head of the Non-Proliferation Bureau within the State Department's Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, was dispatched to Israel four days after Clinton took the oath of office to warn Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to shut down the Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona.

During conversations with Israel's nuclear arms officials, Dr. Dunn, now a vice president of Science Applications International Corp. in San Diego, reportedly said: "Close down the Dimona reactor ... We're trying to control [nuclear proliferation in] the whole world, and everyone's asking us, 'What about Israel?'“

At the same time the Clinton administration made it clear that it was serious about controlling the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction throughout the Third World. It escalated enforcement of sanctions imposed on Iraq following the Gulf war cease-fire in April 1991. The fact that, since June, U.N. inspectors have obtained access to Iraqi defense facilities suspected of developing nuclear, biological or chemical weapons was the direct result of pressure on the part of the White House, and President Clinton appears willing to continue applying this pressure on Iraq or any other "rogue regime" which hopes to produce or acquire weapons of mass destruction.

"Rogue regimes" was the very phrase employed by Robert J. Einhorn, the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for non-proliferation, when he described the Clinton administration's arms control policies. Speaking at a Washington foreign policy think tank, Einhorn said the White House plans to "convince major arms suppliers that the continued sale of destabilizing military hardware and dual-use technologies to the Middle East undermines international peace and security.”

America's new "get tough" arms sales policy has affected some of the traditional suppliers of sophisticated arms to the Third World--North Korea, China and the former Soviet Union.

In recent months, U.S. arms control agencies also have begun to break an apparent conspiracy of silence regarding Israel's complicity in a majority of the efforts by Third World countries both to create and to export weapons of mass destruction.

The new openness regarding Israeli export of arms or U.S. arms technology has produced some startling revelations:

* In March of this year, South Africa acknowledged that, in the late 1970s, it created six nuclear bombs with the technical assistance of Israel.

South Africa also revealed that it is working with Israel to develop an intermediate-range ballistic missile called the "Jericho II." It will be able to deliver a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead 900 miles away.

There were indications of a hardening attitude toward Israeli misconduct.

Several months prior to South Africa's nuclear arms disclosure, the London Financial Times quoted a classified report by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) alleging that, since 1985, South Africa has been receiving technical assistance for its medium-range and nuclearcapable ballistic missile program from another Mideast country: Iraq.

* Last August, the United States imposed trade sanctions against China, claiming it illegally exported M-11 medium-range ballistic missiles to Pakistan. The M-11 would be capable of carrying a 1,100-pound nuclear warhead from Pakistan to most major population centers in India.

News stories and intelligence sources say China also has provided technical expertise and sophisticated equipment to assist nuclear arms programs in Pakistan, South Africa, Algeria, Iran and Iraq; and has sold medium- and long-range ballistic missiles to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and Kuwait.

Early in 1992, Robert Gates, then director of the CIA, charged that China had illegally obtained ballistic missile secrets from the American-made "Patriot" ground-to-air missile system, which figured prominently in defending both Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf war. While Patriot missiles deployed to Saudi Arabia had U.S. crews, however, some of the Patriots in Israel were manned by Israeli crews. Gates said Israel was suspected of supplying China with these secrets, thereby making public suspicions that had circulated within the Pentagon since allegations of technology theft against Israel were formally raised immediately after the end of the Gulf war.

Revelations about Israel's seemingly ubiquitous role in China's missile development and export program have resulted in The Economist reporting that the "black joke" among arms proliferation experts is that "Israeli technicians had secretly helped China improve the ... accuracy" of missiles shipped to most of Israel's Arab neighbors.

Disgust among informed U.S. officials at Israel's covert involvement in many Mideast arms sales has prompted the Clinton White House to take a hard look at all military and foreign aid for Israel.

A tangible result of Clinton administration reassessment of aid programs to Israel could be the termination of Israel's "Arrow" anti-missile program, a $10 billion weapons program that has been largely funded by the U.S. "Arrow" has no friends in the White House and no longer seems to have many friends in Congress.

Although the Oslo agreement has raised cautious hopes in Congress, as throughout the world, for Middle East peace, these hopes could be dashed unless serious efforts are made to reduce the proliferation of sophisticated arms in the region. At present, Middle Eastern governments are spending an average of 13.9 percent of gross national product (GNP) on arms, compared to an average expenditure of 4.7 percent of GNP by governments in the rest of the world.

If the Mideast's total 1991 military expenditures were divided equally among the people living in the region, it would amount to $300 for every man, woman and child in the Middle East. That is 10 times the average per capita arms expenditure of all Latin American countries.

Convinced that enormous arsenals were counterproductive to the Middle East peace talks, President George Bush, in May 1991, proposed a Middle East arms control initiative whereby the major arms suppliers in the region, Britain, China, France, the former Soviet Union and the United States, would mutually impose limits on their weapons sales to the region.

The Bush Middle East arms control initiative has yet to be ratified by the five principal suppliers, however, and it likely will remain unratified unless the U.S. takes the lead. At present, American arms suppliers are the biggest winners in the Middle East arms race, having sold an estimated $35 billion worth of military goods and services in the region since the end of the Gulf war.

Money, however, may be the means to bring a halt to the seemingly boundless proliferation of arms in the Middle East. Robert McNamara, the former U.S. secretary of defense who later served as president of the World Bank, persuasively recommended last April that international donors should make development assistance conditional upon such performance criteria as the percentage of GNP countries spend on the military.

The U.S. is identifying the Middle East countries most heavily involved in the procurement or development of sophisticated weaponry, and is evidently considering linking development assistance to how much a recipient nation spends on defense.

One of the first Middle East countries to be affected would be Israel. As one of the top arms purchasers in the region, Israel spent the equivalent of 12 percent of its GNP on military expenditures in fiscal year 1991, but it had spent as much as 20 percent in previous years. Israel also has been irrefutably linked as a partner in ballistic missile and nuclear arms production programs in China and South Africa.

However, it apparently was the U.S. intention to link the level of U.S. aid to reform of Israel's economy that prompted Harrop's remark that it is not "economically prudent for one country to rely on another for seven to eight percent of its national budget.”

"The government of [Israel] is changing national economic priorities," Harrop said. "It is committed to further deregulation and promotion of the private sector. But the pace of reform has been slow--in fact, rather disappointing." It may not have been Harrop's words, but the fact that they were spoken in a public forum in Israel that prompted Peter Tarnoff, a Clinton appointee in the State Department, to ask for Harrop's immediate resignation.

Other U.S. activities that will influence how Israel deals with the rest of the world can be seen in the trade sanctions the U.S. maintains against two of Israel's defense partners: South Africa and China.

Sources at the Defense and State Departments assert that South Africa's decision to reveal the details of its Israeli-supported ballistic missile and nuclear arms programs last May was largely an attempt to curry stronger trade relations with the United States now that apartheid has been abolished officially and international economic sanctions are starting to come down.

These same sources in the U.S. government say that the State Department's decision to impose Category II sanctions on China because of Bejing's refusal to heed U.S. concerns about missile technology transfers to Pakistan was "a sort of a warning to all their friends back in Israel.”

The Israeli Hand
"Every time we discover a new program in the Third World arms proliferation game, we always find that the Israelis have got some hand in it," says a senior analyst with the U.S. State Department's Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, who spoke to the Washington Report on condition of anonymity. "Israeli scientists helping with a Third World arms program [are] about as inevitable as ants at a picnic.”

The State Department analyst says Israeli technical expertise exported to the Third World has a strange way of contributing to a military threat that has caused Israel's military budgets to comprise such a huge share of the country's GNP.

"Israeli military technology transfers have a perverse way of winding up in the hands of the people they consider their biggest enemies," the analyst says. "Take just a couple of examples: For South Africa the [Israelis] helped build a [nuclear] bomb and the Jericho II [ballistic missile], while South Africa was trading all the military secrets it can lay its hands on with Iraq.

"Meanwhile," the State Department analyst adds, "Iraq was working with Egypt to co-produce the Condor II missile in Argentina, while also presumably trading nuclear secrets it has gleaned from the South Africans to aid its own nuclear program and the one it's working on with Argentina. Plus, the Iraqis are trading conventional arms secrets, like cluster bomb technology Israel stole from the U.S., with their buddies in Argentina and Chile.

"In China, meanwhile, Israeli scientists are helping out with the Silkworm, M-11 and other Chinese ballistic missiles, which--see if you can figure this out--will wind up on launchers in Iraq, Iran, and just about any Arabic-speaking country you can name. Plus the Israelis working for the Chinese are wittingly or unwittingly having their expertise transferred to North Korean missile factories.”

"Well," he concluded, "I think you get the idea.”

Some members of Congress, traditionally a bastion of Israeli strength, apparently have. Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, does not plan to stand for reelection. Since making that decision, he has been outspokenly critical of Israel's ever-increasing share of the total U.S. foreign aid budget. Senator Byrd has asked the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct a classified study of the problem-plagued "Arrow" anti-missile weapon jointly produced by Israel and the United States.

He commissioned GAO to examine the cost, schedule and technical risks of the "Arrow" program, the extent to which the United States is monitoring the use of "Arrow" technologies and funds, "Israel's record on making unauthorized sales of U.S.-origin defense articles and technologies," and "whether Israel engaged in missile proliferation activities." Byrd also asked GAO to determine to what extent these factors were considered in the decision to award funding to a project which some procurement experts estimate will cost the United States as much as $10 billion over its entire lifetime.

According to agreements signed in 1988 by the U.S. Department of Defense, Israel, and the joint co-production teams of Lockheed Missiles & Space and Israel Aircraft Industries, the "Arrow" system will be an anti-tactical ballistic missile system that includes launchers, radars and associated support equipment.

The "Arrow" missile will measure 10.98 meters in length, travel at speeds 10 times the speed of sound, and is supposed to intercept targets 70 kilometers from its launch point with a kill probability of 90 percent. Since the program started five years ago, however, the first three of five "Arrow" test launches ended in failure and the next two had limited success.

To date, the "Arrow" project has cost $487.6 million--all but $26.1 million paid for by the U.S. government.

The GAO study determined that the Department of Defense (DOD) "has no operational requirement for the Arrow missile and has no plans to buy it." The unclassified report states that the United States is directly funding 75 percent of "Arrow." In addition, DOD research and development funds indirectly are paying an additional 20 percent. The study expresses concern that the United States may be drawn into funding most of the system without sound information on the "Arrow's" cost, development schedule or performance.

The GAO study says "the U.S. government has exercised inadequate control over the technology and funds it has supplied to the Arrow missile program," and expresses grave concern about a DOD proposal to suspend funding of the "Arrow" and provide Israel with one of the newer generation of American-made anti-ballistic missile systems being fielded.

"There are concerns about potentially providing a leading-edge U.S. system to the Israeli industrial base," GAO warns with typical understatement. Put more bluntly, the GAO questions whether Israel can be trusted with U.S. technology because of lingering suspicions of previous unauthorized arms technology transfers by Israel.

The GAO study observes that, with U.S.-funded projects in Israel, DOD officials seldom make an effort to determine the "background" technology of a project (the pre-existing technology Israel has on hand at the start of a project). Nor do Defense officials make much effort to keep track of the new "licensed" technologies that the U.S. contributes to an Israeli project. This lax control of U.S. defense technology, says GAO, has permitted Israel to claim U.S. military technology as its own, incorporate it into Israeli-built weapons, and sell them (and the U.S. technology) for a profit to other countries.

The GAO concludes that DOD's "overall management approach to date [regarding Israeli projects] is 'hands off' or 'management by exception.'" The report recommends that Israel permit representatives from the Defense Contract Management Agency, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and various congressional and DOD auditing agencies to have access to "Arrow" production facilities for the thorough monitoring of U.S. defense hardware, technologies and funds.

The study also criticizes the Strategic Defense Command, the DOD funding agency for "Arrow," for neglecting to account properly for all of the highly classified focal plane arrays shipped to the Israelis. A focal plane array is a small energy detector that enables the most sophisticated U.S. weapons to seek targets accurately.

The GAO study does not bode well for continued congressional support.

GAO states that more comprehensive audits in the future of all U.S.-supported Israeli projects "could encourage accountability and provide assurance that funds are not used to support other Israeli project.”

The GAO study does not bode well for continued congressional support of the "Arrow" program. There is speculation on Capitol Hill that Senator Byrd plans to terminate funding for "Arrow," and that he sought the documentation from the GAO to back up his decision.

If Senator Byrd wants tangible evidence of Israel's mismanagement of its U.S.-funded projects, he likely will be interested also in the findings of a Defense Department inquiry that grew out of a recent scandal involving Rami Dotan, an Israeli air force general who has been jailed for defrauding the U.S. of $40 million on aircraft engine contracts. A random audit of several other DOD contracts with Israel revealed that Israeli defense contractors routinely "demanded questionable commissions," were "paid reimbursements to which they were not entitled," and were "paid for items which they falsely represented as being of U.S. origin.”

Regardless of congressional response to these politically unpopular findings, it will be interesting to watch the Clinton administration's reactions to the allegations. The reactions will be a good indication of how much pressure it will put on an ally gone awry, but whose American supporters were a key element in the coalition that put Clinton into the White House.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Kennedy, Tim
Publication date Dec 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Oslo Agreement: An American Jewish Peace Activist; Though Belated and Lopsided, With Help It Could Work

Marshall, Rachelle. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  4 (Dec 31, 1993): 7.


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THE OSLO AGREEMENT: An American Jewish Peace Activist; Though Belated and Lopsided, With Help It Could Work
The peace plan signed in Washington on Sept. 13 by Israeli and Palestinian leaders may be the last best hope for peace in the Middle East and as such is to be welcomed. Despite the agreement's shortcomings, the joy it aroused among Palestinians and Israelis makes it clear that rejection by either side would have been unthinkable. But the fact that only the PLO, and not the Israeli government, was obliged to renounce violence before the two sides could agree to mutual recognition symbolizes the lopsidedness of the bargain.

In accepting the plan, Palestinians agreed to defer consideration of the three demands that have been central to their struggle: creation of a Palestinian state, return of the Palestinian refugees expelled by Israel in 1948 and 1967, and sovereignty over East Jerusalem. What they gain from the agreement is control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Jericho; if all remains peaceful, Israeli troops will withdraw from those areas but continue to surround them. Elsewhere on the West Bank, Palestinians will take over such local functions as health, education and tourism, with Israel retaining responsibility for "security." Israeli forces will continue to control the borders and provide protection for the 130,000 Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.

On paper at least, the plan offers hope as a first step toward Palestinian nationhood and the peaceful coexistence of both peoples. But if it does not soon result in better living conditions for the people of the occupied territories, violent protests by its opponents are likely to increase. If Palestinian authorities are unable to control the protesters, Israeli hard-liners could point to the failure of Palestinian self-rule and progress toward Palestinian statehood would suffer a severe setback. Unfortunately, the terms of the agreement provide no assurance that living conditions in the West Bank and Gaza will quickly improve.

Gaza is known as the "Soweto of the Middle East," a vastly overcrowded area where open sewers run in the streets and the inhabitants--now barred from working in Israel--are reportedly on the verge of starvation. The new agreement continues to deny Gazans access to the coast, where they once carried on a thriving fishing industry, or to the scarce portions of arable land now inhabited by some 3,500 Jewish settlers. The Palestinian population will benefit from the absence of Israeli sharpshooters on their rooftops, but given the area's monumental economic and social problems, Gaza is not likely to become a model of Palestinian self-rule.

On the West Bank, where the closing of Israel's borders has cost the jobs of tens of thousands of wage earners, conditions are hardly more promising. Palestinians will be allowed to assess taxes and collect their own garbage, but without control of the land and water they have no hope of restoring their once prosperous agricultural sector or building the infrastructure necessary for a healthy economy. Another obstacle to development is the severe shortage of capital, the result of crippling restrictions on production, trade and other economic activity imposed on Palestinians under Israeli rule. According to a New York Times report of Sept. 9, per capita income in the occupied territories is $1,350 a year, one-eighth the level in Israel. (Palestinian economists estimate that over the next eight years the need for new housing, improved water treatment and health care, and the development of Palestinian industry will require about $9 billion--little more than Israel receives in U.S. aid every year.)
The most positive aspect of the new agreement is the fact that Israel and the PLO are at last talking to each other. For nearly 20 years, peace activists on both sides have warned that no lasting peace could be achieved without the participation of the Palestinians' chosen representatives, the PLO, and that if Israel continued to shun the PLO and reject its efforts at conciliation, the Palestinians would turn to more militant leaders. Israeli leaders have finally learned this lesson, but only after 25 years of unnecessary bloodshed. Had Israel been less unyielding, the handshake between Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin could have taken place years ago.

Although successive Israeli governments have insisted that the PLO's true goal was to destroy Israel, in fact, since at least 1977 Palestinian leaders have repeatedly offered to negotiate peace with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. In October 1977, the PLO welcomed a joint U.S.-Soviet statement that referred to Israel's right to security as well as to the legitimate rights of the Palestinians. Israel condemned the statement and nothing more was heard of it. In 1978, Arafat told Paul Findley, then a Republican congressman from Illinois, that the PLO would recognize Israel if an independent Palestinian state were established in the West Bank and Gaza. In January 1979, Farouk Kaddoumi, political director of the PLO, repeated Arafat's message, promising: "As soon as we have a state, we shall recognize Israel's secure borders and Israel's right to live in peace." (The Nation, Nov. 3, 1979.)
Although the Israeli government remained deaf to such statements, there were some Israelis who listened and responded. Members of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Council, which had long advocated a two-state solution, began meeting with PLO officials in London in 1975 and, along with other Israeli peace activists, have met frequently with Arafat since then--in defiance of an Israeli law that was only recently repealed. Contrary to most press reports, dialogue between Israelis and the PLO is not a recent phenomenon.

In 1981 and 1982, the PLO supported proposals by Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev and French President Francois Mitterand calling for a Palestinian state along with guaranteed security for Israel. During the same period the PLO also backed the Fahd and Fez peace plans, originating with Saudi Arabia and approved by Arab League member states, that contained similar provisions. In fact, the PLO's increasingly successful efforts during the early 1980s to convince the international community of its desire for peace may have motivated Israel to invade Lebanon in June 1982. A major purpose of the invasion was to destroy the PLO leadership, then headquartered in Beirut, and with it the Palestinians' ability to press their claim for an independent nation. Retired Israeli Gen. Matti Peled said at the time that the Israeli leaders who plotted the invasion "have a strong interest in seeing political leadership of the PLO transferred to extremists. That will help them depict Palestinians as people who don't want to coexist with Israel.”

Despite the invasion, Arafat and other PLO leaders reaffirmed their offer to recognize Israel--a stipulation that the United States insisted on before it would talk with the PLO--if Israel in turn agreed to recognize Palestinian national rights. When Israel adamantly refused to make any concession, the PLO took a further unilateral step toward peace. In November 1988, the Palestinian National Council voted formally to recognize Israel. Arafat announced the decision in December before a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly (which had to be moved to Geneva because the United States refused to let Arafat attend the U.N. General Assembly session in New York). The vote to recognize Israel was a conciliatory gesture that Arafat and his supporters had convinced more hard-line Palestinians to accept by promising that it would bring the PLO into the negotiating process.

But the hope proved false; Israel refused to budge. The United States did hold inconclusive talks with the PLO over several months but abruptly cancelled them in June 1990, on grounds that Arafat had refused to condemn an abortive raid on Israel by a Palestinian splinter group headed by Abul Abbas. It was a flimsy excuse, since Arafat had disavowed any responsibility for the raid and was known to be sharply at odds with Abul Abbas. Shortly afterwards, U.S. journalist Milton Viorst commented in The New York Times (June 16, 1990) that in recognizing Israel, Arafat had "gambled that the positive results he would get from Washington would enable him to keep the hard-liners under control. To his dismay, the U.S. delivered nothing ... Mr. Arafat's political judgment is discredited.”

Twelve years earlier, in December 1978, Paul Findley had expressed the same thought to a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor: "The pity is that our executive branch has given no recognition to the advance toward moderation which has occurred within the PLO," he said. "This puts the moderates in the PLO out on a limb ... If they get no recognition, they must ask themselves, 'Why take a chance?'“

Israeli authorities have not only painted a false picture of Palestinian leaders and their policies, they have actively tried to silence the moderates among them by means of censorship, expulsion and imprisonment. Outspoken supporters of a two-state solution such as Faisal Husseini and Sari Nusseibeh have spent long periods in prison without charges being brought. Occupation authorities have similarly arrested hundreds of journalists, writers, labor organizers and other professionals and intellectuals who might provide potential leadership. Hanna Nasser, the distinguished president of Bir Zeit University, was dumped across the Lebanese border in the middle of the night in 1974 and only recently allowed to return.

In 1977, the Israeli government refused permission for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to attend a meeting of the Palestine National Council in Cairo, where many of them were expected to support PLO endorsement of U.N. Resolution 242, which calls for Israel's withdrawal from the occupied territories in exchange for peace. The PNC's approval of the resolution would have amounted to recognition of Israel. The April 1977 newsletter of Breira, a short-lived Jewish-American peace group, charged that in preventing inhabitants of the occupied territories from going to the meeting, Israel had "strengthened the Rejection Front and other forces opposing a settlement based on mutual recognition. By preventing their participation in the Cairo conference, the Israeli government weakened substantially the strength of moderates fighting courageously for their position within the PLO.”

Israel repeated the tactic seven years later. On Nov. 20, 1984, New York Times correspondent Thomas Friedman reported that then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin had refused to let 160 West Bank and Gaza delegates attend a PNC meeting in Amman, "even though," according to Friedman, "they would for the most part provide an important moderating influence.”

Despite Israel's effort over the years to punish, ignore, suppress or distort every sign of the Palestinians' willingness to compromise, the people of the occupied territories have continued to support leaders who favor peaceful coexistence with Israel. But the hardships of the occupation, grown increasingly severe under the Rabin government, have reportedly brought the inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza to the breaking point. As families see their livelihoods destroyed by the loss of jobs in Israel; their day-to-day existence made maddening by house searches, checkpoints, and travel restrictions; their husbands and sons beaten and jailed; and their children shot by Israeli soldiers, they are bound to give up on leaders who can bring no relief from their plight.

The popularity of militant fundamentalist groups such as Hamas, and the controversy over negotiating policy that took place last June between the PLO leadership in Tunis and the negotiating team from the occupied territories, indicate that Palestinian leaders will face a difficult task in preserving unity. The peace agreement with Israel must have sufficient support among the Palestinian people to be workable, and this can only happen if they are relieved of the twin burdens of the occupation--extreme deprivation and lack of freedom. Otherwise, growing bitterness and frustration in the occupied territories, and the factionalism among Palestinians that is bound to result, could undermine any interim autonomy arrangement and with it the hope of a stable Palestinian nation.

In accepting the current peace agreement, Palestinians have made major concessions to Israel. Now it is Israel's turn. The first step should be a reopening of Israel's borders so that Palestinians can work and feed their families. There must be an immediate end to the torture of Palestinian prisoners and other human rights abuses by Israeli authorities. At the same time, Israel's leaders must work to convince ordinary Israeli citizens, who will determine the outcome of future elections, that the Palestinians are people like themselves, with the same desire for security and a national identity. This will mean undoing the damage done by Israeli governments over the past 40 years in portraying the Palestinians as less than human and the PLO as a group of murderous thugs.

For its part, the U.S. can play a major role in demonstrating to the Palestinians and the rest of the world that the signing of the agreement was more than a symbolic event. Washington must not only come up with a substantial portion of the funds needed to develop the Palestinian economy, it must also keep pressure on Israel to move toward full withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

There are obviously enormous obstacles in the path of Middle East peace, but if the current effort fails, the only winners will be Israeli zealots who prefer endless bloodshed to giving up an inch of territory, and Arab extremists who would like to see Israel disappear. Fortunately, at this point a clear majority of Palestinians and Israelis are willing to make the peace plan succeed, and with enough help they can do it.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Yasser Arafat and wife at orphanage)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Marshall, Rachelle
Publication date Dec 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Oslo Agreement: Eight Views; An Arab-American Skeptic; Results Depend on Motives of the Signers

Hazo, Robert G. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  4 (Dec 31, 1993): 7.


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THE OSLO AGREEMENT: EIGHT VIEWS; An Arab-American Skeptic; Results Depend on Motives of the Signers
Whether the Israeli-Palestinian agreement will lead to real peace depends not only on what happens in the next year or two, but also on the motives each side had for signing it. No one, therefore, has all the answers to the "real peace" question, not even the principals on each side.

On the Israeli Side
It is possible that Israeli leaders finally realized that living in hostile surroundings indefinitely was precarious at best. But this argument, which was demonstrated in the 1973 war, has been around for years. So has the Israeli leader who made the fateful decision, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Up until now he had given no indication that he possessed the vision to recognize the force of the argument. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who does have that vision, as did Abba Eban before him, approved the negotiations, but it was Rabin's decision to sign, and Rabin heartily dislikes Peres.

It also is possible that Rabin realized that because of the U.S. public's growing concern about America's financial situation, the foreign aid on which Israel is so dependent increasingly is at risk. The only way for Israel ever to become economically independent, moreover, is to integrate its economy into the Middle East and beyond. Thus the agreement, and thus the Israeli and U.S. stress on economic development following the agreement.

It is possible, too, that the increasing deaths of Israelis at the hands of Islamic militants faced the Israeli government with unacceptable losses. Thus, it may have decided on the old colonial policy of divide-and-rule, a continuing tactic it used in Lebanon to pressure the Lebanese government to curb the Hezbollah militia operating in the security zone. In the agreement with the PLO it is clear that the Palestinian authorities are obliged to suppress Palestinian attacks on Israelis. The words "strong police force" are not included by chance.

It also is possible that Israel was simply losing too many Jewish immigrants because of its severely restricted economic opportunities and the disincentive of endless guerrilla war.

On the Palestinian Side
Analysis of Palestinian motives for signing is easier because the focus of responsibility falls primarily on one man, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. It is entirely possible that he all along intended to take anything he could get in the way of a deal. He was short on money, having alienated the oil-producing states by siding with Saddam Hussain in the Gulf war. His main-stream Al Fatah movement was losing its monopoly on Palestinian leadership to local leaders in the West Bank and Gaza. Also, he may have believed sincerely that he had to negotiate now while something remained to negotiate, given the multiplication and expansion of settlements. Finally, one cannot dismiss the possibility that Arafat, approaching 65 after many brushes with death, was determined, one way or another, to become the first president of the Palestinian state.

Readers can pick and choose among the motives, but should keep two realities in mind as events unfold: First, a peace with dignity and independence for the Palestinians depends on how hard their popularly elected leaders and parliament negotiate over electricity, water and the other basics necessary to build their own economy rather than simply to service the Israeli economy. Second, deeply held attitudes of contempt on the part of the Israelis and hatred on the part of the Arabs will make the agreement vulnerable to disruption for a long time--perhaps for two generations--before true reconciliation and a firm peace are achieved. All this, for the foreseeable future, makes lasting peace a long shot, at best.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Hazo, Robert G
Publication date Dec 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Oslo Agreement: An American Skeptic; Israel Buys Time to Absorb East Jerusalem

Collins, Frank. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  4 (Dec 31, 1993): 9.


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THE OSLO AGREEMENT: An American Skeptic; Israel Buys Time to Absorb East Jerusalem
The Israelis have gained time by signing the Oslo agreement to squeeze Palestinian inhabitants out of East Jerusalem and into the West Bank and elsewhere. The technique, which they have accelerated, is simple: rush the building of heavily subsidized and segregated settlements for Jews only, while delaying the building of housing for non-Jews and demolishing housing already occupied by Palestinians.

The Oslo agreement postpones for at least two years any negotiations on the status of East Jerusalem. If this decision is left unchallenged, there will be little left to negotiate by the time meetings on East Jerusalem are convened. And because of the crucial position of East Jerusalem in the life of the West Bank, there can be no viable settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without an early resolution of the Jerusalem question.

From the very start, the Israelis indicated that their program for East Jerusalem was quite different from their less definite plans for the remainder of the occupied territories. Almost immediately following the 1967 conquest of the West Bank, the Israeli government tripled the area of East Jerusalem by extending the city limits deep into the West Bank. Then, in 1980, the Knesset passed the Basic Law declaring Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and annexing the extended East Jerusalem area to the state of Israel. Apart from Israel itself, no nation has recognized its annexation of East Jerusalem.

The fighting had hardly ceased in 1967 before bulldozers began the demolition of 135 homes in the Moroccan quarter of the walled Old City. Successive waves of evictions followed, expanding the Jewish quarter to four times its original area. Ever since then, evictions have continued intermittently all over the Old City. To date, 5,000 Palestinians have been dispossessed.

The boundaries of the extended East Jerusalem municipality were drawn with the aim of seizing as much West Bank land as possible while minimizing the intake of the Palestinian population. Thus the lands of Beit Hanina, Anata, Abu Dis and five other villages were absorbed into the enlarged East Jerusalem, but only small parts of two of the villages themselves were included. The excluded population of the eight villages numbers at least 80,000, while the lands separated from those villages became prime targets for early confiscation.

Other more centrally located villages such as Shu'fat, Issawiyeh, Silwan, Sur Baher and Beit Safafa were absorbed into the extended East Jerusalem, and almost all of the lands surrounding them have been confiscated for the building of Jewish settlements and Israeli institutions. (The legal grounds for seizure of privately owned Palestinian land in East Jerusalem is its "conversion to public use." This turns out to be the building of segregated Jewish housing. Christians and Muslims are not part of the public.)
The Israeli takeover of yet more Palestinian land was accomplished at a single stroke recently by the issuance of master plans for the various East Jerusalem neighborhoods. As is the usual Israeli government practice, the local Palestinian residents were not informed about the master plans although they had been in preparation for 10 years. Recently built houses and other buildings lying outside the master plans' new village boundaries may become subject to demolition orders.

"Green zones" also are included in village areas. These "green zones" are areas where building on privately owned Palestinian land is prohibited. "Green zones" are no barrier to the building of Jewish settlements, however. The Jerusalem municipality simply abolishes the "green zone.”

The village of Shu'fat on the road to Ramallah illustrates the operation of the master plan. Shu'fat's land was reduced considerably from its 1967 area by successive confiscations for the building of the adjoining Jewish settlements of French Hill, Ramot Eshkol, Ma'aleh Dafna and Pisgat Ze'ev. Now, under the master plan, one quarter of the remaining village has become a "green zone." Meanwhile, northwest of Shu'fat, construction has begun on a new settlement, Rehkes Shufat, intended for Canadian Orthodox Jews, further hemming in the Palestinian village.

Such tactics closely resemble those used in land confiscations in the West Bank. Individual landowners are given 60 days to file objections. Collective objections by the villages are not possible, there being no competent village authorities to file them. In practice, few objections are filed because few landowners have the funds to hire lawyers for expensive and hopeless litigation.

Consequently, the master plan for Jerusalem will be pursued without substantial alterations. It sets aside at least 56 percent of the extended area of East Jerusalem for Jewish settlements and Israeli institutions. Nor has signing of the Oslo agreement on Sept. 13 halted new land confiscations. It seems clear that the Israeli government has resolved to convert East Jerusalem into a giant Jewish settlement to support its claim to all Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

As the result of these strenuous efforts to Judaize East Jerusalem, the Jewish population of 152,000 already slightly exceeds the combined Muslim and Christian population of 150,000.

According to the Jerusalem municipality, another heavily subsidized 18,000 housing units are planned, designed to house 70,000 additional Jewish settlers. By contrast, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has yet to license the building of 7,500 unsubsidized units for Palestinians on Palestinian land, as requested last year by the municipality. A 1981 municipality request for the licensing of 18,000 units of housing for Palestinians has lain dormant all these years, receiving no response whatsoever from the ministry.

Beyond being denied the licensing and housing subsidies which are freely available to Israeli Jews, the Palestinians who remain in East Jerusalem are subject to further aggravated discrimination. Jerusalem's Palestinian population pays 26 percent of the total cost of municipal services, but receives just 5 percent of these services. In addition, Palestinians are placed in the higher tax brackets in spite of their much lower incomes compared to Jerusalem's Jewish residents. By contrast, Jerusalem's Jewish settlers are exempted from the payment of municipal property taxes for five years, and afterwards are liable only at a reduced rate. Said the head of one Palestinian family faced with eviction from his present apartment because of the sale of the building, and discouraged by the high prices of the limited housing open to Palestinians, "I don't see how we can possibly afford to stay in Jerusalem.”

Since East Jerusalem is the heart of the West Bank, the Israeli isolation of the occupied territories from the city since March 31 of this year has devastated Palestinian life in both. Palestinian business activity has been reduced by 80 percent.

Geographically, the traffic arteries radiating out from Jerusalem to Nablus in the north, Hebron in the south and Jericho in the east all pass through East Jerusalem. The northern and southern regions of the West Bank are thus isolated from each other, as well as from East Jerusalem. Even for the minority of Palestinians who carry valid permits issued by the Israeli authorities to enter Jerusalem, the 10-mile drive between Bethlehem and Ramallah now requires an additional hour or more because of delays at army checkpoints. Trucks are further delayed for close inspections of the goods and equipment they are carrying.

There are clear indications that Israeli authorities intend to ban Palestinian travel through East Jerusalem permanently. For example, the narrow, tortuous and dangerous Valley of Fire bypass road, east of East Jerusalem, is being repaired in order to open it to travel.

It is surprising that the Palestine Liberation Organization did not make the reopening of the West Bank a condition for its signing of the Oslo agreement. Since the closure of East Jerusalem is nothing less than the decapitation of the West Bank, PLO acceptance of this agreement could turn out to be the signing away of East Jerusalem for good unless its status is given top priority in the ongoing negotiations with Israel.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Jewish settlers protest Israel-PLO accord)


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Author Collins, Frank
Publication date Dec 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Tansu Ciller: Turkey's New Prime Minister

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 2.


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Tansu Ciller: Turkey's New Prime Minister
Members of Turkey's conservative True Path Party on June 14 elected U.S.- educated Economics Minister Tansu Ciller (pronounced CHILL-air), 47, to be Turkey's first woman prime minister, succeeding her party's Suleyman Demirel, 68, who replaced the late Turgut Ozal as Turkey's president. Ciller, educated at Istanbul's American-founded Robert College, has an M.A. from the University of New Hampshire, a doctorate from the University of Connecticut, and pursued further studies at Yale. She has pledged to speed up privatization of Turkey's money-losing state corporations, maintain the export-oriented economic boom it has fueled, and lower the 65 per cent inflation that has accompanied the boom. "I have never lost any major battle I have entered," she said, as the Istanbul stock market rose a record 10 percent in a single day's trading in the wake of her election.

As a teenage bride, Ciller persuaded her businessman husband, Ozer Ucuran (pictured with her below), to give up his surname and take hers, a rare event in male-oriented Turkey. An economist, she became, at 36, Turkey's youngest professor at its most prestigious university. She also is the first prime minister to be born on the European side of the Bosporus since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish republic in 1923, moved the capital from Istanbul, now a city of 10 million on the sea of Marmara, to austere Ankara on Turkey's high and dry central plateau.

She faces major problems in governing her country of 60 million people, including allegations concerning the means by which she and her husband made millions in Istanbul's booming real estate market. She is expected to give the army a free hand in dealing with Kurdish unrest in the east, and may call a quick election to take advantage of her youthful and optimistic image to improve the 28 percent of the vote her party, which rules in coalition with the Social Democratic Populist Party, won in 1991 national elections.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Tansu Ciller)


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Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Peace Talks: As U.S. Moves the Goal Posts, Jerusalem Main Obstacle to Peace

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 6.


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The Peace Talks: As U.S. Moves the Goal Posts, Jerusalem Main Obstacle to Peace
"It would be nice to believe the United States had no part in the Palestinian turmoil . . . But the U.S. did have a part. The main disagreements and internal pressures are directly traceable to the June 30 paper presented by the Americans to the Palestinians at the end of the 10th round of talks. In the paper the U.S. backed away from its original letter of assurance and diluted the principles of sovereignty, and for the first time would not clearly state its commitment to crucial U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. At the same time the Israelis attempted to take a discussion of East Jerusalem off the table... Why did the Americans change the rules? What did officials in the Clinton administration think would happen?”

--Christian Science Monitor editorial, Aug. 11, 1993
If the Palestinians withdraw from the peace talks, the Israelis will proclaim, with help from sympathizers in the U.S. media, that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace." In fact, however, whatever "opportunity" there was vanished with the change of U.S. administrations.

With White House Middle East adviser and former lobbyist for Israel Martin Indyk and like-minded State Department peace talks coordinator Dennis Ross firmly in his camp, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is going to tough it out. He will make no serious land-for-peace offer because President Bill Clinton has assured him there will be no U.S. financial pressure on Israel to do so.

Whereas Israel's Likud government made no secret of its determination to create a "Greater Israel" from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River by not giving up "one inch" of land for peace, Rabin is staking his claim to "Greater Jerusalem," whose boundaries the Israelis expanded to the borders of the Palestinian towns of Ramallah and El Bireh to the north and to Bethlehem and Beit Sahour in the south when they occupied East Jerusalem in 1967.

"The government is firm in its resolve that Jerusalem will not be open to negotiation," Rabin has said. "The coming years will also be marked by the extension of construction in Greater Jerusalem." That's a masterpiece of understatement.

Present-day "greater Jerusalem" is connected to 16 Jewish settlements grouped under the name Gush Etzion in the south, which Rabin has exempted from restrictions on expansion of settlements. In the east, Israel is connecting Jersualem to the settlement of Maale Adumin with a system of highway bridges and tunnels. That will extend the Jerusalem connection halfway to the Jordan river and cut the West Bank in half.

Maale Adumin is not a few houses on an isolated hilltop. With 20,000 residents already, it has 31 square miles to grow into, making it half again as large as the island of Manhattan. As present Israeli plans go forward, virtually the only land that might even be left to exchange for peace would be Gaza and such major Palestinian Arab population centers as Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jericho.

While the Palestinians are left to contemplate what they would do if Rabin deigns to make such a politically impossible offer, his government has sealed off the entire occupied West Bank and Gaza from access either to Israel or to East Jerusalem. This cuts Palestinians off from jobs that might bring money into the occupied territories. In the territories themselves, Israeli authorities have made it impossible to develop a viable economy by refusing permits to build factories, open market-places, expand farms, deepen wells or export or import except through Israel.

An Increasingly Intolerable Life
With job opportunities in the Arab world, Europe and the U.S. beckoning Palestinians from outside, and life inside increasingly intolerable, Israel's Labor government is betting it can accomplish the same kind of "ethnic cleansing" of the occupied territories that its Likud bloc rivals vow to do at gunpoint. Rabin also is betting that his subtler methods will not unite and mobilize the Muslim world to impose the serious economic measures that would jeopardize Israel by hurting badly any country that supports it. If he loses his bet, the United States will be the country that pays the price.

How did the "peace process" deteriorate so rapidly? A year ago most Palestinians and their Arab backers believed they were only months from an agreement that would lead within five years to full self-determination for the Palestinians, and settlement of all of Israel's border problems with Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Those prospects vanished with the Clinton administration's striking reversal, just before round 10 of the peace talks in June, of the Bush administration's "Letter of Assurance" of October 1991 that had brought the Arabs to Madrid and the negotiations that followed. In that letter, written after eight personal trips to the Middle East, then-Secretary of State James Baker III told the Palestinians that the U.S. did not recognize Israel's unilateral 1967 "annexation" of East Jerusalem, and that the city's final status was subject to negotiation.

The U.S. also assured all of the Arab participants that the "peace process" would be based upon U.N. Resolution 242, which specifies "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict," meaning the 1967 war, in return for Arab acknowledgement of Israel's "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries, free from threats or acts of force.”

Fully aware that Israel would, in the negotiations, call for territorial adjustments to make their boundaries more "secure," the Arabs also were aware that Resolution 242 specifically restated the basic premise of the United Nations Charter and of international law "emphasizing the inadmissibilty of the acquisition of territory by war." On this basis, the Palestinians entered the negotiations, prodded by assurances from Arab moderates that there would be financial incentives for accepting a settlement involving only 22 percent of Palestine and the knowledge that if they did not negotiate, the support they were receiving would be reduced. It was understood that the U.S. would play the same role with Israel, giving or withholding financial support based upon Israel's performance at the peace table.

As for the irreconcilable Israeli insistence that Jerusalem must "never again be divided," and the Arab insistence on Israeli withdrawal from areas of East Jerusalem seized in 1967, the Arab and U.S. participants believed this could be solved by imposition of some form of international control that would assure equal rights and access to all Israelis and Palestinians living within the city as citizens of their two separate states.

In submitting a new "declaration of principles" for the talks, the Clinton administration has backed off from its commitment to the principles of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, although all six of President Clinton's predecessors since 1967 have made it the keystone of U.S. Middle East policy. When the U.S. change became clear, Palestinian delegates to the talks prepared to break them off if the U.S. did not return to its October 1991 assurances.

This led to their disagreement with Yasser Arafat in Tunis, over his seeming willingness to agree to deal with the problem of Jerusalem later in the "transition period.”

Delegates to the talks fear that while they wait, the Israelis are extending East Jerusalem's boundaries and building Jewish settlements within them in order to create a clear Jewish majority within their definition of East Jerusalem. Within their "Greater Jerusalem" as a whole, the Israelis already have created a ratio of 72 percent Jews to 28 percent Arabs.

As the peace talks have dragged on through 10 rounds over 20 months, growing numbers of Palestinians have been attracted to the Islamic radicals of Hamas and the leftist radicals of George Habash's PFLP and Nayef Hawatmeh's DFLP. This further suits Israeli plans for encouraging Palestinian extremists who alienate sympathizers both within the Arab world and in the West. But even among the great majority of Palestinians who still support Yasser Arafat's Al Fatah and the West Bank peace talk delegates who have carried out its instructions, there are problems.

The Palestinians living under occupation are suffering intensely. They attribute some of this to the continuing alienation of the oil-rich Arabs, and the Palestinians who work in the oil-producing countries, from Yasser Arafat, whose tacit acceptance of Saddam Hussain's invasion of Kuwait has not been forgotten. A collective PLO leadership, Gaza delegation leader Dr. Haider Abdul Shafi believes, would take better account of the problems of Palestinians under occupation, and at the same time would attract renewed financial support for Palestinian institutions.

They suspect that Yasser Arafat, whose successful pursuit of diplomatic recognition around the world has not alleviated occupation conditions, will be tempted by the vague "Gaza first" or "early empowerment" options being dangled by the Israelis. While having Palestinians administering any part of the occupied territories might seem a partial vindication of the PLO's long efforts, it will not affect the day-to-day problems of earning a living in the vastly larger and more important areas coveted by the Israelis.

"Important New Developments”

Meanwhile, the new Clinton team is assuring journalists, activists and even Arab diplomats that "important new developments" in the peace talks lie just ahead. The year began with an Israeli attempt to split the Arab camp by asking Syria what it would be prepared to offer in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from a demilitarized Golan Heights. Syrian President Hafez Assad has responded that Syria would offer "full peace for full withdrawal," but only after Palestinian territorial claims also have been addressed.

The Israelis then preceded Round 10 of the peace talks with hints of a separate peace with Jordan. King Hussein made it clear that Israel-Jordanian disputes could easily be settled, but only after Palestinian claims are met. U.S. hints now refer only to yet another attempt to broker a separate Syrian- Israeli peace, with the possible side effect that such an attempt will panic Yasser Arafat into offering to defer indefinitely a settlement on Jerusalem in return for Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza.

It's a bet Israel, and its unrestrained U.S. partisans in the Clinton administration, will lose. Making a separate peace and thereby giving up support for Arab claims to Jerusalem is just as politically impossible for any Arab state as redividing Jerusalem would be for any Israeli government.

So, while regional talks on refugees are scheduled Oct. 12-14 in Tunisia, on water resources Oct. 26-28 in Beijing, security and disarmament Nov. 2-4 in Moscow, economic development Nov. 8-9 in Copenhagen, and environment Nov. 15-16 in Cairo, the U.S. has let it be known that if there is no progress in the political talks, the Clinton administration's patience "might not last beyond the end of the year.”

Arab patience may not last that long. Brought in on the premise that "acquisition of territory by war" is "inadmissible," they read in the Christian Science Monitor of July 6 a U.S. official quoted as saying: "But international law, as we know, is meaningless unless there are powers who are ready to enforce it." He may have meant it as a warning, but if the Arab states, like the West Bank Palestinians, give up on the peace talks, they may take the new U.S. position as a challenge.

If they do, Americans should prepare for the worst. The "oil weapon" is sheathed, perhaps for good, and no one knows it better than the Arabs, who are faced with increasing over-production as oil from Iran, and eventually Iraq, comes onto the market.

Americans would be ill-advised, however, to force Arab and Islamic nations to choose between their present economic and security arrangements, which are so beneficial to the United States, and helping the Palestinians resist an unfair settlement being imposed by the United States. Those choices could be very hard ones, and not just for the Arabs.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Cartoons (Armed soldier enters peace talks)


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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Israel's Aim Is To Destroy the Peace Talks Along With Southern Lebanon

Marshall, Rachelle. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 7.


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Special Report: Israel's Aim Is To Destroy the Peace Talks Along With Southern Lebanon
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is not the first leader who has left another country in ruins while boosting his popularity at home. His artillery and aircraft have laid waste to southern Lebanon, leaving a 30-mile arc of devastation from the Mediterranean to the Syrian border. The destruction is "vast and encompassing," according to one U.N. official.

A European officer who surveyed the region during the bombardment said, "A sizable area is being forcibly depopulated and virtually all habitation is being destroyed. These people will never be able to come back." The people he was referring to were the 300,000 refugees, in a country of only three million, who fled northward to escape the inferno brought on by unremitting Israeli bombing.

They were not incidental victims but deliberate targets: Rabin stated publicly that "Israel aims to cause a mass flight of residents" from southern Lebanon.

The Conventional Wisdom
What motivated Israel's savage seven-day attack on an already shattered country? The conventional wisdom was best expressed by a San Francisco Chronicle editorial of July 27 that blamed Syrian President Hafez Assad and the Shi'i militia, Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon for escalating the violence in an attempt "to drag Israel into a war and thereby sabotage the peace process." In fact, the opposite is likely to be the case.

The anti-Israel guerrillas in southern Lebanon undoubtedly receive aid from Iran and Syria. Since 1985, however, their principal aim has been to force an end to the Israeli occupation.

South Lebanon's Shi'i population originally welcomed Israel's 1982 invasion as a way of driving the Palestinians from their territory. Their resistance began after Israel first refused to leave the southern half of Lebanon, and also established a nine-mile wide "security zone" across southern Lebanon.

There is a cruel irony in the fact that, although Israel's occupation followed an almost universally condemned invasion, the West dismisses those who are resisting Israel's continued presence in Lebanon as "terrorists" and considers Israeli troops in Lebanon to be acting in self-defense.

In the recent cycle of violence, the Hezbollah killed over a period of two weeks in July seven Israeli soldiers, all of them within Lebanon, not Israel. In retaliation, Israel targeted at least 54 Lebanese villages, towns and refugee camps for concentrated bombing and shelling that killed 130 and wounded some 500 people. The ferocious Israeli attacks on civilians provoked-- for the first time in months--Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israeli settlements in which three Israeli civilians were killed. Although all attacks are reprehensible, no matter what their magnitude, Israel's bomb tonnage, and the number of casualties it produced, far outweighed the force used by the other side.

As for sabotaging the peace negotiations, Israel's massive bombing of areas patrolled by Lebanese and Syrian troops, in which one Lebanese soldier and three Syrian soldiers were reported killed, was more likely than Hezbollah attacks on Israeli troops in Lebanon to cause a break in the talks. Israel's actions aroused almost unanimous condemnation from Arab leaders--including the normally noncommital Egyptian government--and undoubtedly fueled opposition to the peace process among enraged Arab citizens.

In fact, Israel has escalated the violence in southern Lebanon before when a peace conference was imminent. In November 1991, just before the start of the Madrid meetings, Israel shelled Lebanese villages for six days in retaliation for earlier attacks on Israeli soldiers. In January 1992, two days before the second round of peace talks, Israel bombed a Bedouin camp near Beirut, seemingly without reason, killing 12 people. A month later, a week before the third round, Israeli forces assassinated a prominent Shi'i sheikh and his wife and child, provoking a new outbreak of fighting in southern Lebanon.

Coincidence? Perhaps. On the other hand, at this point Rabin may believe a delay in the peace talks might be more to Israel's advantage than to that of its adversaries. He knows Israel eventually must offer substantial territorial concessions if he is to reach any agreement with Syria or the Palestinians. He also knows that any territorial compromise he makes will be bitterly attacked by his right-wing political opponents. The only way out of this dilemma is to distract attention and stall for time.

Raining bombs on the terrified villagers of southern Lebanon may have seemed like the best solution. But sooner or later Israeli leaders will have to accept the fact that there can be no peace--and only a semblance of security-- without substantial territorial compromise by Israel.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Jibshit being bombed by Israel)


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Author Marshall, Rachelle
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Words to Remember: Applying History's Lessons to Bosnia

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 8.


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Words to Remember: Applying History's Lessons to Bosnia
The administration of President Bill Clinton wavered too long between decision and irresolution on Bosnia, preparing to follow its own instincts but tortured by divided counsel from international allies with separate agendas of their own. Chief among the distractions were attempts to apply historical parallels to the situation.

Americans with long memories cited Japan's invasions of China in the 1930s, Italy's conquest of Ethiopia in 1935, and Germany's incursions into Czechoslovakia, starting in 1938. None of the world outrage they generated galvanized the League of Nations into concerted military action to halt the aggression.

Had there been such action, historians speculate, World War II might have been avoided. Instead, after France and Britain finally moved to halt Germany's invasion of Poland in 1939, Italy and Japan supported Germany, and gradually the whole world, belatedly including the United States, was drawn in.

The result was 55 million dead, and only brief emergence from World War II before the world entered 40 years of Cold War. The analogy is obvious.

An equally appropriate example is that of Korea, where the U.S. mustered an international coalition under the U.N. flag to resist a massive incursion from North Korea into South Korea in 1950. Boundaries were restored to approximately those that had existed before the invasion.

Those counseling against bold U.S. action, however, cite a different analogy--the "quagmire" of Vietnam. The U.S. started by providing air support to South Vietnamese forces against Soviet- and China-supported North Vietnam. From air forces the U.S. effort extended to air bases, then to "perimeter defense" and, eventually, full-scale intervention on the ground. But South Vietnam lost the war.

The Vietnam parallel is less applicable to Bosnia because there no longer is a Soviet superpower prepared to counter every U.S.-led move. About "quagmires," however, there remains a lesson to be learned.

It is a lesson the U.S. already has applied in the Gulf war. Saddam Hussain's Iraqi forces in Kuwait apparently believed the U.S. would limit ground action to landing on Kuwait's heavily mined beaches, and forcing its way across major entrenchments along Kuwait's desert borders. French, Syrian and other members of the coalition refused in advance to participate in any action in or over Iraq. The bulk of the U.S.-led international coalition nevertheless sent ground troops into Iraq, and within 100 hours had trapped Iraq's invasion forces. The entire operation, from first air strike to 100-hour ground war, lasted less than seven weeks. Kuwait was no quagmire.

The lessons that should be drawn are three. Bosnia could be a turning point in the history of post-Cold War collective action in the face of massive violations of international and humanitarian law. After a warning strike or two, military action cannot be limited to bombing concealed artillery pieces and tanks. If Serb aggression continues, Serbian military concentrations should be destroyed, wherever they are, and the bridges over which they move into Bosnia severed.

The Bosnians themselves are willing to provide the ground troops. All they ask are heavy weapons to match those of their opponents, and the air support required to rectify more than a year of Western indifference and neglect.

Bosnia can be a defining moment for whether or not the 21st century is going to see progress in collective action for peace and justice, or a further escalation of racial and religious bigotry, persecution and slaughter. That challenge can be met, without descent into another "quagmire," if the right lessons are drawn from U.S. participation in four previous wars in the past half-century.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Middle East Watch Report: Israel's Death Squads Defy U.S. Human Rights Criticism

Sosebee, Stephen J. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 13.


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Middle East Watch Report: Israel's Death Squads Defy U.S. Human Rights Criticism
When Israeli soldiers dressed as Arab women pulled 23-year-old Samir Sha'ath from a car and immediately pumped three bullets into his brain on the main road entering the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza on July 8, it was more than just another bloody assassination of a Palestinian activist by an Israel Defense Force death squad. It also was the defiant Israeli response to a newly published 180-page report on the IDF undercover units issued by Middle East Watch.

Just one week prior to Sha'ath's killing, Middle East Watch, a branch of Human Rights Watch, the largest U.S.-based human rights organization, held a press conference in Jerusalem announcing the report's conclusions. Acting executive director Kenneth Roth charged that IDF undercover units have "conducted unjustified patterns of killing" in the occupied territories, resulting in the deaths of at least 120 Palestinians since the December 1987 start of the uprising.

The report, entitled A License To Kill, based its conclusions on fieldwork involving cross-checking of cases and interviews with IDF soldiers and Palestinian eyewitnesses. For many who attended the press conference, the report was hardly news.

A License To Kill painstakingly documents 20 killings by the undercover units. Seven of the victims were 16 years old or younger. Only 2 of the 20 were carrying firearms when killed. While many Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups have published similar conclusions in the past three years, the new report is unique in that for the first time Israeli soldiers from the death squads themselves are interviewed.

Although only one of the five soldiers interviewed permitted his name to be published, all testified clearly that the units do indeed target Palestinian activists for summary execution. One soldier said that while he was in Gaza his unit was briefed about 13 Palestinians on the "wanted list.”

"At the nightly briefings we were always told that these 13 had to die," the soldier reported. "The officers said, 'Keep your eyes open and kill them.'" Champagne would be sent to a unit each time it killed a wanted person, and a celebration would be held. Since the interviews were conducted before Samir Sha'ath was killed, the report does not reveal whether he was one of the wanted 13.

There is little doubt that the IDF, by employing the Salvadoran army's infamous death-squad tactics, has struck a blow to the intifada. While Palestinian popular support for the uprising remains strong among all social, political, religious and economic sectors in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the strength of the intifada depends on the work of the young activists. They are the ones who organize the occupied population politically. It is they who first warn individuals who secretly collaborate with the Israeli intelligence service, and who then kill those who continue. It is the young activists who comprise the armed groups increasingly using force against Israelis. For all these reasons killing the young activists has become, as one undercover unit soldier explained, an Israeli "obsession.”

A Long Delay
Other than including interviews with IDF personnel, A License to Kill actually offers little new information concerning Israeli death squads. In fact, some in the human rights field in the occupied territories are critical of Middle East Watch for its long delay in dealing with the issue.

"After years of such actions by the Israeli military here and after Al- Haq published a report and after the Palestine Human Rights Information Center published a report and even after B'tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, published a report, I am wondering what now is the meaning of this (Middle East Watch) report," said Raji Sourani, director of the Gaza Center for Rights and Law. "Why did they wait so long? I think it shows negligence by such a human rights organization.”

Fateh Azzam, program coordinator at the Ramallah-based Al-Haq/Law in the Service of Man, welcomed the report, despite its delay. "The issue here remains that the willful killing of individuals is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is tantamount to a war crime," he said. "Their report confirms again what we found in a similar study long ago: that the IDF is targeting active individuals, that they kill them without a real attempt at arrest, and that most of the victims are unarmed and many times mistakenly targeted. The fact that these units have killed many children should further the war crimes as well as human rights aspects.”

For the parents of Samir Sha'ath, neither human rights reports nor press conferences prevented the cold-blooded assassination of their only son. Like many active in the uprising, Samir had expected to die from Israeli gunfire. He was a leader in the PFLP's Red Eagles, and the blood of many of his friends already had been spilled on Rafah's sands. Ultimately, it made little difference to this Palestinian freedom fighter whether he was shot point-blank without warning in the back of the head by Israelis dressed like his aunts, or whether death came during a demonstration or armed clash.

"The point is, he loved Palestine enough to fight for its liberation and to die a young martyr's death," said his cousin, Ahmed Sha'ath, at Samir's funeral. "The young ones here learned from Samir and are ready to take his place. The Israelis don't understand that killing him makes us that much more determined to follow his lead and liberate our land.”

The gravity of Israeli human rights violations and breaches of international law, and whether the undercover units can or cannot be called death squads, are debated in a world far removed from the brutal killing fields of Gaza. Nor did the Middle East Watch report break new ground in that distant world. There was no avalanche of outrage from the foreign embassies in Tel Aviv. The United Nations Security Council did not pass a condemnation resolution or impose sanctions. Nor did the Israeli public give any sign that it cared.

Instead, only a week after Kenneth Roth spoke about the report on death squads to a room full of journalists, another young Palestinian was pulled out of a car and shot dead in broad daylight and in front of many witnesses by male Israeli soldiers wearing brassieres under their Palestinian gowns.

Existence vs. Effectiveness
In a world that refuses to acknowledge Israeli war crimes, even when they are described to human rights investigators by the war criminals themselves, the important question is not whether Israeli death squads exist, but whether they will be effective in subjugating the political aspirations of an entire nation under occupation. It seems unlikely that Central American-type Israeli death squads will be more successful than the previous bone breaking, total curfews, economic strangulation, mass imprisonment and deportations, relaxed open-fire regulations and the closure of the territories in halting the Palestinian national liberation struggle.

They have, however, further frustrated a people who already have offered the compromises necessary for a settlement, and deepened the psychological wounds of occupation at a time when the combatants, instead of brutally hunting each other down, are supposed to be talking together reasonably about peace. Since the return of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to power in Israel, however, the only peace offered to Palestinians living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is that meted out to young victims of the IDF like Samir Sha'ath.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Young Palestinian activists)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Sosebee, Stephen J
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Pro-Israel McCarthyism: Arab Americans Spied On by ADL Sue Three Police Departments

Marshall, Rachelle. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 15.


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Pro-Israel McCarthyism: Arab Americans Spied On by ADL Sue Three Police Departments
A coalition of Arab-American organizations has accused the police and sheriffs' departments of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego of negligence in connection with a long-running spy operation conducted against Arab-American and other political activists. A suit to recover at least $100,000 in damages from each law enforcement agency was filed on June 23 by the Center for Constitutional Law in Los Angeles and New York, and the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee (ADC), which claim that the plaintiffs' constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of association and privacy were violated. Members of the coalition include ADC, the National Association of Arab Americans, the Association of Arab-American University Graduates and the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine.

The case originated earlier this year when the San Francisco district attorney's office revealed that a retired San Francisco policeman, Tom Gerard, and a private investigator for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Roy Bullock, had illegally collected confidential information on more than 500 organizations and 12,000 individuals. The two men had shared the information with the government of South Africa and possibly with police departments in other parts of the country. Because of ADL's close relationship with Israel, and the fact that Gerard took part in an ADL-sponsored tour of that country, there is concern among Arab Americans that Gerard and Bullock may also have given some of the information to the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

According to Abdeen Jabara, vice chairman of ADC, the files contain information on 36 Arab-American organizations and their members and on 412 groups listed by Bullock as "pinko," including the United Farm Workers, the National Lawyers Guild, and the American Indian Movement. Anti-apartheid organizations are also listed, as well as several Jewish peace groups. At a news conference held the day the suit was filed, Jabara said, "What's at stake here is whether or not private organizations with political agendas may maintain an information-sharing relationship with law enforcement agencies without compromising those agencies.”

The suit claims that the spy operations deprived Arab Americans and others of "their right to anonymity in the conduct of their political activity and associations" and "chills their exercise of freedom of speech and associational privacy." Maha Jaber, Bay Area coordinator for ADC, told the press conference that "Our First Amendment rights have been violated because of our ethnicity and our religious and political beliefs.”

Gerard, who is accused of illegally possessing San Francisco police intelligence files, was indicted last May on felony charges involving theft of government documents. No charges have been filed against Bullock, with whom Gerard shared the information, or the ADL, Bullock's employer. Members of the district attorney's office have indicated that because of the volume of material collected and the legal need to share it with the attorneys of the accused, there will probably be no further indictments until fall.

McCloskey Group Sues ADL
Meanwhile, Gerard, Bullock, ADL and Richard Hirschhaut, director of ADL's Central Pacific office, are the targets of a civil suit filed last April by former Congressman Paul N. "Pete" McCloskey, Jr., on behalf of 19 people listed in the files who claim their right to privacy has been violated. If found guilty, the defendents would have to pay a fine of $2,500 on each count plus unspecified damages. McCloskey's clients won the first round on July 21, when San Francisco Judge William Cahill turned down a demurrer by Bullock that claimed the complaint was "unintelligible" because it failed to specify in detail the harm allegedly done to each plaintiff. In rejecting Bullock's demurrer, the judge pointed out that the plaintiffs could hardly specify the harm done to them if they couldn't examine the records.

The crucial issue now, according to McCloskey, is whether the plaintiffs can gain access to the files collected by Bullock and the ADL. "We want to know what they did with those records and how and where they disseminated the information," he said in a recent interview. Accordingly, he has asked for a court order requiring ADL and Bullock to release all of their documents pertaining to the individuals named in the suit. So far the defendants have stonewalled. With mind-boggling disdain for consistency, ADL and Bullock claim their constitutional rights to privacy would be violated if they were forced to produce the information they collected on thousands of unsuspecting citizens.

The crucial issue now is access to the files.

With at least three lawyers acting in their defense, and an annual budget of $32 million to draw on, ADL and Bullock may try to drag out the proceedings indefinitely, perhaps in the hope that the issue will be forgotten. But this is unlikely to happen. The continuing spy investigation and the two recently filed civil suits have importance not only for the organizations and individuals involved but for everyone concerned about the Middle East conflict or other controversial issues.

Time and again, ADL has used unverified information collected by paid spies--who may have lifted it illegally from law enforcement records--as the basis for damaging attacks on those who criticize Israeli policy or defend Palestinian rights. Typically, these attacks come in the form of letters or phone calls from prominent members of the Jewish community, and are addressed to organizations that have scheduled talks by the targeted individual or to radio or TV stations that plan to air their comments.

The underlying message is that the person in question is anti-Semitic and therefore his or her views are automatically suspect. The victims have no way of knowing the source of the information and usually no effective means of issuing a rebuttal. Not only is harm done to their reputations and perhaps their livelihoods but also to the free flow of ideas and information that all citizens must rely on in order to make informed decisions.

By listing those it disagrees with as "extremists," and disseminating distorted information about their views and activities, ADL is not only violating their privacy but attempting to silence them. Whatever the outcome of the current court cases, there is little doubt that ADL's ultimate purpose is to stifle debate on one of the most crucial issues of our time.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Marshall, Rachelle
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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To Tell the Truth: Mideast Status Quo Will Destroy "Pax Americana”


Hadar, Leon T. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 16.


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To Tell the Truth: Mideast Status Quo Will Destroy "Pax Americana”

Notwithstanding the July displacement of southern Lebanon's population by Israeli bombardment, since the Gulf war ended the Middle East has been experiencing an uneasy feeling of the calm before the storm. In Washington, however, there seems to be a sense that Pax Americana is alive and well in the region, that the interests of America and its allies there are relatively secure, and that maintaining the status quo is an effective policy.

Several times in its modern history, however, the Middle East has experienced such a sense of temporary calm, only to have the area explode around its occupants.

Until the end of World War II and the establishment of Israel, the regional status quo had been maintained by the continued British military and diplomatic presence. But a series of events, including the 1951 assassination of King Abdallah of Jordan and the 1952 revolution in Egypt, cracked the foundations of the old order. The 1956 Suez Campaign symbolized the end of British power, the rise of Pan Arabism and the entry of the U.S. and the U.S. S.R. into the region as the two dominant powers.

Nevertheless, the balance of military power between Israel and the Arab states seemed stable in the mid-1960s. Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser had suffered a setback in the Yemen civil war, and Washington and its allies were confident of their ability to contain threats to the pro-Western regimes in the area. The Palestinian national movement existed only as a skeletal political and military organization.

The 1967 war seemed to transform everything in six days. Israel no longer seemed threatened. Soon Egyptian President Nasser, the personification of pan- Arabism, was dead. Nasser's successor, Anwar El-Sadat, was perceived as nothing more than a nuisance. U.S. interests in the region no longer seemed challenged.

The 1973 war--and the oil embargo that was a direct result of U.S. support to Israel during that war--burst the bubble of American and Israeli confidence. The status quo again had been shattered, forcing the U.S. to reexamine many of its previous policies toward the region.

The U.S. victory in the Gulf war again has produced that sense of "don't worry, be happy" when it comes to America's Middle East policies. After all, argue the same analysts who failed to predict the Middle East earthquakes of the past, the extension of America's military power in the Gulf is securing Western access to the region's oil, which comprises more than 60 percent of the world's proven reserves.

There is no more Soviet Union to be concerned about. Europe, Japan and Russia seem happy with U.S. policy in the region, and the pro-Western Arab states, who are not happy, seem too concerned with the dangers posed by Iran and Iraq to complain. As for Iraqi and Iranian hegemonic ambitions, neither yet has the strength to do anything about them.

It's true that the U.S.-led peace process launched in Madrid is going nowhere. But there is no threat of an oil embargo, Soviet meddling, or a potential Arab-Israeli war to focus American minds on the area.

So the pro-Israel administration of President Bill Clinton has adopted a formula to deal with the Israel-Arab dispute: Pretend there is momentum in the peace process, convene the Israeli and Arab delegations in Washington, send an emissary once in a while to the region, make optimistic statements to a gullible or co-opted press, and let the Israelis propose unworkable peace plans. Meanwhile, perpetuate economic and military aid to Israel and turn a blind eye to its policies toward the Palestinians. For peace at home, the Arabs will insist the "peace process" is working, while the Israelis and their U.S. supporters extol the Clinton administration.

The "Indyk Doctrine's" Drawbacks
The "Indyk Doctrine," named after Clinton's White House Middle East adviser Martin Indyk, reflects this sense of arrogance. The notion of a "dual containment" of Iraq and Iran by the United States and its four Middle Eastern "pillars"--Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia--looks good in Washington. Viewed from the Middle East, it has major drawbacks.

Turkey's new leaders are not interested in becoming a pro-American military bastion against Iraq and Iran. Nor are Egypt and Saudi Arabia comfortable supporting America's tough stand against Muslims--bombing Iraq, turning Iran into America new global enemy, and treating with benight neglect Serbian genocide against Bosnian Muslims and Israel's scorched-earth policy in southern Lebanon.

Without any progress in the Arab-Israeli peace process, the costs to the four pillars of being used to preserve the Pax Americana in the region are bound to rise. A stalemate in the negotiations plays into the hands of both religious and secular radicals in the region, and weakens the power of the pro- Western regimes there.

Clinton More Hawkish Than Peres?

If anything, the Clinton administration finds itself today to the right of the majority of the Knesset members of the ruling Labor Party. These include Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, who has been urging Washington to revise the Madrid formula, try to bring the PLO to the center of the negotiations, and move toward discussing the shape of the final agreement between Israelis and Palestinians--instead of focusing on an interim "autonomy." These ideas are backed by PLO officials with whom Peres met in Cairo in June.

But the U.S. message has been "slow down and don't get excited." Supported by an American-Jewish leadership whose members sometimes seem more Catholic than the Israeli Pope, the Clinton administration has been rejecting all proposals to change the structure of the Arab-Israeli negotiations. It is this attitude in Washington that has stalemated the talks.

The fighting between Israeli forces and Lebanese Shi'i guerrillas provided a glimpse of the dangers in stalemate. Although all sides to the talks have an interest in preventing all-out war, time is on the side of the Israeli, Iranian and Arab radicals who benefit most from the status quo.

America, like Great Britain between and after the two world wars, may think it can continue to enjoy the benefits of this status quo because of its unipolar moment in the Middle East. But, the idea that "what is, will be forever" is the kind of intellectual trap into which all other great powers that have controlled the Middle East for a time eventually have fallen.

If there is no progress soon on the peace front, the Mideast clock will begin ticking as the region moves toward new political and military configurations with regional powers like Iran and Iraq and outside powers like a resurgent Russia, Europe and Japan. All are waiting in the wings for the post-Pax Americana era in the region.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Hadar, Leon T
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Affairs of State: At the Grass Roots, Westerners Say, "Rein in Israel”


Bird, Eugene. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 17.


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Affairs of State: At the Grass Roots, Westerners Say, "Rein in Israel”

The Oregon wheat farmer at first was just questioning what he had been hearing. Then he turned incredulous, and finally angry.

"I heard from someone that Israel was receiving $750 per capita each year from the U.S. Treasury," he said. "Is that really true?”

"No, "I said, standing in the July rain in my native Willamette Valley. "It's at least $1,250 per capita. Some say more, depending on how you allot it, since the Israeli Arabs claim they get practically none of the aid from the United States.”

The well-educated farmer thanked me and walked away mumbling angrily about Israel's indefatigable senatorial gofer, Oregon Republican Bob Packwood. And, as he had made clear earlier in our conversation, up to then the farmer had been a Republican supporter of the embattled senator.

Pacific Coast Activists
All along the Pacific Coast this July, we found small clumps of people questioning the size of the U.S. aid package to Israel in this deficit reduction year one of the Clinton administration. They also asked what this aid was being used for, and whether maintaining Israeli military occupation forces in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria's Golan Heights and south Lebanon was really in the American interest.

At Berkeley, the hot topic was a bill in the California state legislature to permit state employees' and state teachers' pension funds to invest in Israeli bonds guaranteed by the U.S. government. At that point the bill had been passed by the California State Assembly, and the Senate was expected to take up the issue sometime in September. It is only one part of an effort by the government of Israel's lobby in the United States to move some of the ever- increasing aid to Israel out of the federal budget, where it is becoming a real issue, into investments in Israel bonds by the huge state government pension funds. By turning such funds, from many different U.S. states and cities, into a major source of aid to Israel, its U.S. lobby hopes to defuse a potentially explosive issue.

Whether or not this effort will succeed will depend on the amount the American public learns about the purchase of Israeli bonds by the widely scattered pension funds. Already, some 12 states have authorized this new means of financing Israeli deficits, which are mounting and are no more likely to be repaid than Israel's direct debts to the U.S. government. (Israel has never repaid a loan from the U.S. government. All, eventually, have been forgiven by the U.S. Congress.)
Since in the end these bonds issued by Israel will be the responsibility of the American government if Israel is unable to repay them, it makes little difference whether the aid to Israel is voted by Congress or authorized by the state legislatures, which control state pension funds. Either way, U. S. taxpayers ultimately will foot the bill. By raising its money in many states, however, the Israeli government spreads the political risk and makes it harder to identify the total amount of aid flowing from so many U.S. sources to Israel. Now it will be necessary to survey the current exposure of each of dozens and perhaps hundreds of state pension funds to identify the total amounts they have invested in U.S. government-guaranteed loans to Israel.

No other country has such access to U. S. pension funds, and Israel is hardly the best risk. Japanese, German or other bonds from industrialized nations have had far better investment ratings. But the key to Israeli access to the funds has been that these formerly extremely risky Israeli bonds now are guaranteed by the U. S. government. No U.S. state or municipal bonds carry such U.S. government guarantees, of course.

"Hot Button" Issues Among Pacific Coast Activists
The "Hot Button" priority list of what makes people on the West Coast angry might read something like the following:

1. Unmonitored U. S. aid to Israel with no oversight. (There are only two U. S. aid officials in Israel, neither one responsible for monitoring the $3.2 billion program of direct, bilateral U.S. military and economic aid to Israel. They instead monitor the $25 million U. S. program for the West Bank and Gaza).

2. Unlawful use of U.S. military equipment supplied to Israel for "defensive purposes" by Israel across international borders in Lebanon or for putting down the Palestinian insurrection. Some 37 Palestinian children have been killed this year, with U.S. equipment figuring in their deaths. In south Lebanon, 130 people, some of them children, were killed in one week in direct violation of terms of transfer of U.S. weaponry to Israel Defense Forces. But no protests were made by the Clinton administration.

3. Continued refusal of Israel to trade land for peace, either with the Palestinians or the Syrians. Despite murky Israeli pronouncements on the peace talks, Rabin's government continues to assure settlers on the West Bank that they will not be moved. The largest settlement, Maale Adumin, just outside East Jerusalem, is to be expanded by as much as 40 square miles, according to its mayor. This is a clear violation of the terms of the U.S. loan guarantees extended to Israel, yet the Clinton administration obviously has no intention of protesting or halting next year's guarantees.

However, Americans who are paying the ever-escalating cost of the building of a Greater Israel increasingly are speaking out about the misuse of their money, and congressional refusal to solicit or listen to constituent opinions on the subject. As one activist in San Francisco asked before departing to a protest against the Israeli ethnic cleansing of south Lebanon using U.S.-made long-range artillery: "Any other country doing this, regardless of the provocation, would be cut off from aid immediately. When are we going to wake up?”

Cost of U.S. Grants to Israel in Fiscal Year 1993
(in billions)
On foreign aid budget $3.091
Off foreign aid budget 1.180
Total 1993 grants $4.271
Interest paid by U.S. on money borrowed
for 1993 grants to Israel .050
Total 1993 grants and interest 4.321
U.S. loan guarantees to Israel for FY 1993 2.000
Total 1993 grants, interest and loan guarantees 6.321
Compound interest on previous grants to Israel 1951-1992 5.000
Total 1993 grants, interest, loan guarantees and
compound interest on previous grants $11.321
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Table (Cost of U.S. Grants to Israel in 1993)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Bird, Eugene
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Education: American Librarians Revoke Condemnation of Israeli Censorship

Lorenz, Andrea W. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 18.


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Education: American Librarians Revoke Condemnation of Israeli Censorship
Israel's censorship policies are well known, but this year the largest librarian's association in the world decided to ignore the evidence in its own files. A year earlier, in July 1992, the 56,000-member American Library Association had passed a resolution calling upon "the government of Israel to end all censorship and human rights violations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and in Israel itself.”

The resolution stated that Israel's annual $4.5 billion in American aid helps offset costs of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian territories and makes the U.S. a party to Israel's human rights violations and censorship practices. This June, however, when confronted by organized opposition from pro-Israel members, the association revoked its own resolution.

In the past, the American Library Association also has criticized the Soviet Union, South Africa, the People's Republic of China, and Iran for their human rights and censorship policies. The revoking of such a resolution is unprecedented.

Israeli censorship practices are well documented. The 1993 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report, the Parisbased Reporters sans Frontiθres and the London-based Article 19 Center on Censorship describe routine government expurgation of articles and editorials from the press in Israel; the harassment, torture, and deportation of Palestinian journalists; and the exclusion of journalists from arbitrarily defined and constantly shifting "military areas" in the occupied territories.(1)
Another form of Israeli censorship, book banning, is documented by Palestinian-American writer Muhammad Hallaj in an article entitled "Palestine: The Suppression of An Idea."(2) Dr. Hallaj reports that even after books approved by United Nations officials for use in UNESCO/UNRWA schools for Palestinian refugees are purged of offensive references to Israel, Israeli censors will not allow UNESCO teachers to use them. UNESCO reported that in the 1978-79 academic year, Israeli censors confiscated eight textbooks intended for use in West Bank primary schools and an additional four texts intended for secondary schools. Nine books out of 27 approved by the United Nations for use in Gaza primary schools were banned by Israeli censors.

Reporting on the situation in the 1980s, a UNESCO team member wrote. "The censors manage to reject works of fundamental importance to Arab cultural heritage. One sentence is sometimes enough to condemn out of hand a book of obvious importance." In addition to banning the works of Arab poets of the early 20th century, Israeli censors banned Alan Moorehead's The White Nile and The Blue Nile, biographies of Abraham Lincoln and Alexander the Great, and the plays of Sophocles.

"Israeli occupation authorities object to the very concept of Palestine.”

Palestinian-American Noha Ismail, a librarian in Hennepin County, Minnesota, wrote in a 1991 article entitled "Israeli Censorship in the Occupied Territories" that Palestinian children "have literally been subjected to a mental and intellectual siege for over 23 years."(3) The Israeli policy, however, is not just to deny Palestinians access to great works of literature, according to Professor Hallaj. "What the Israeli occupation authorities object to, in fact, is the very concept of Palestine and, therefore, any form of expression of such a concept is forbidden." Hallaj reports an Israeli military governor told a Palestinian painter, "If you paint a flower with colors of white, green, black or red [Palestinian flag colors] on the petals, we'll confiscate it.”

The ALA was alerted to Israeli censorship practices 10 years ago when David Williams of the Chicago Public Library wrote to the association in December 1983 enclosing documentation. Correctly predicting a protracted debate over the issue, he wrote, "I fear that ALA will not be willing to confront this issue, given the hysteria that arises in the United States whenever anyone sharply criticizes our ally and 'only democracy in the Middle East' ... I have brought [Israeli censorship] to your attention in at least the faint hope that ALA could be prevailed upon to study the matter and make some pronouncement (e.g. a resolution?).”

Williams had become interested in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in college when he began reading books that contradicted many of the prevailing myths that painted a rosy picture of Zionism while ignoring the darker side of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

ADL Objects
In 1989, Williams compiled a bibliography on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict for the Social Sciences and History Division of the Chicago Public Library. Although his bibliography listed books by Israeli Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Menachem Begin, the fact that it also included writers critical of Israel put Williams on a collision course with B'nai B'rith's Anti- Defamation League (ADL).

A struggle ensued between the ADL and Chief Librarian Samuel Morrison of the Chicago Public Library, who had approved Williams' bibliography. Morrison tried to appease the ADL by asking Williams to add pro-Zionist authors to the bibliography, which he did. The ADL persisted, however, in calling the bibliography biased and asking for its removal.

In January 1990, Chicago Sun Times columnist Dennis Byrne wrote about the ADL's pressure tactics. Byrne's exposι brought a flood of letters to the library in support of Williams' bibliography. Caught in the public spotlight, the ADL retreated, temporarily.(4)
ADL members had been given the chance to present their views to the librarians at previous ALA conferences, but each time they had declined. During 1991 and 1992 ALA conferences, Williams and other members of the ALA's Task Force on Israeli Censorship organized several roundtable discussions on the subject. At two different sessions Israeli librarian Josepha Pick and Israeli journalist Michal Schwartz described the censorship practices of their government.

This year, however, it became clear that the ADL and other pro-Israel organizations were mobilizing Jewish ALA members across the country to lobby colleagues to revoke the resolution. In January, President Andrea Levin of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), an organization that buys advertising space to place pro-Israel editorial copy in U.S. publications, wrote that the American Library Association had a "hostile fixation with Israel."(5)
Her comment appeared in Jewish weekly newspapers as did an anonymous letter alerting "Jewish taxpayers" that a debate on Israeli censorship would take place at the upcoming librarians' conference. "No other foreign government is singled out on the conference program for criticism, "the author wrote. It was signed variously, in different weeklies, by "a Jewish taxpayer" or "a librarian whose job would be jeopardized by identification.”

Emotions on the pro-Israel side had reached a fever pitch by the time the ALA's Jewish Librarians' Guild (JLG) met in New Orleans on June 27, the day before ALA members were to assemble for their annual convention in the same city. Representatives of Hadassah (a major U.S. Zionist women's group), CAMERA, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Jewish Federation had flown in to lend their support.

During the JLG meeting, a librarian who had worked in Israel for six months admitted that Israel practiced censorship. However, her statement was ignored by the majority of members. Said one of them of the ALA's 1992 action, "This resolution is discriminatory. What the hell kind of a rotten organization is this?”

The next day, reacting to months of pro-Israel letters and telephone calls, the ALA's 175-member leadership council decided to pre-empt discussion of the subject within the larger forum of the membership meeting by revoking the resolution.

Council member Robert Doyle said that when council members arrived for their June 28 meeting, it appeared that most had decided that the Israel resolution was causing the ALA more trouble than it was worth. Toward the beginning of the meeting, a member asked the association's parliamentarian whether a resolution could be rescinded. The parliamentarian responded that it was not possible to rescind a resolution that had already been passed, but that a resolution could be revoked.

The same member then moved that the council revoke the resolution. "No reasons were stated for the revocation," Doyle said, and little or no discussion ensued before a majority of council members voted in favor of revoking the resolution.

The issue was not yet dead, however. It would take a vote by three- fourths of the librarians attending the membership meeting that evening to ratify the revocation.

By 8 p.m. the Hilton Hotel's Grand Ballroom was packed. Members were handed information by partisans of both sides as they entered. Much of the debate that followed revolved around the question of whether or not the ALA was the appropriate forum to debate other countries' censorship policies. This was clearly a diversionary tactic by the pro-Israel members since the ALA has been censuring other countries for censorship since 1974.

One by one, pro-Israel members approached the microphone. "A good many of us are tired of hearing about Israel," said one. "I don't think the countries of the Middle East are waiting with bated breath to hear what the ALA has to say," said another. "Who are we, librarians, to pass judgment on the policies of any foreign government if we have not lived there?" asked a third.

Other speakers extolled Israel's virtues in areas other than censorship. "Health care is more widespread in Israel than in other countries," said Jewish Librarians' Guild co-chair Martin Goldberg. "There is a high rate of literacy." At times the debate stooped to the vitriolic. ALA member Kay Everett called for "disbandment" of the Task Force on Israeli Censorship which she accused of embarassing the ALA "nationally and internationally.”

There also were Jewish librarians who opposed revoking the condemnation of Israel. Among them were two of the resolution's original authors, Minnesota librarian Sanford Berman and New York librarian Mark Rosenzweig. In addition, Middle East Labor Bulletin editor Jeffrey Blankfort, who also is Jewish, further documented Israeli censorship practices at the panel discussion entitled "Israeli Censorship: There and Here.”

Berman, a co-founder of the Jewish Librarians Caucus and a member of the ALA's Human Rights Task Force, is a member of New Jewish Agenda and Veterans for Peace. "Becoming involved in the issue has been inescapable because of my involvement in human rights and social justice issues," he told the Washington Report. "Once you have been exposed to the information about Israel's actions you are led to certain inexorable conclusions.”

An article Berman distributed to participants in the New Orleans meeting elaborated on those conclusions. "As an American Jew, I'd like to express solidarity with everyone working for peace and justice in the Middle East," he wrote, "which to me means a free and independent Palestine thriving alongside a free and independent Israel.”

During the membership meeting, Berman spoke eloquently in favor of reaffirming the 1992 resolution. He condemned the "travesty" of democratic procedures that had taken place when the leadership council voted to revoke a resolution that had been passed by the association's membership. "These tactics have turned democracy upside down," he charged.

Several librarians supported revoking the resolution on grounds that it unfairly singled out Israel. In doing so, they ignored a new resolution already proposed by Berman during the same meeting condemning censorship policies in Egypt.

Also apparently ignored by the approximately 1,500 librarians attending the session was council member Stephen Stillwell's argument that, "No one has challenged the truthfulness of the charges. No one has challenged the accuracy of the Article 19 documentation.”

In the end, it appeared that the majority of the librarians did not much care one way or the other about the resolution. When they heard the chorus of angry voices denouncing it as "unfair," "seditious," "inflammatory," and "embarrassing," however, they decided to vote with their proIsrael colleagues.

"A tremendous amount of pressure was put on individual council members by the ADL," Berman said afterward. He added that never in the 20 years he has been associated with the ALA had anyone questioned whether it was appropriate for librarians to discuss the issue of censorship. Nor, he said, had he ever seen anything "to equal the ferocity of this debate.”

In an interview after the conference, ALA Executive Director Peggy Sullivan, a member of ALA for 40 years and the author of a history of the association, defended the ALA while disassociating herself personally from its action. "Last year and this year there were people who felt maybe we have been too soft on Israel, "she said. "No one who has spoken on behalf of Israel has said there is no censorship in Israel ... The majority of ALA members wanted to arrive at a reasonable, dignified settlement of the issue--not to exonerate Israel, but to move on.”

Pressed for her own opinion, however, she said, "Personally, yes, I do feel ALA should take a position on censorship in another country.”

An Underlying Value
Council member Stephen Stillwell expressed his disappointment at the ALA's action. "Opposition to censorship is an underlying value of the ALA," he said. "I think it's a good idea for our association to go on record whenever it can, and as often as it can, about these issues. The more times the ALA says we are against censorship and the more ways we say it, the more credibility the ALA has.”

The motivation for the expensive battle by national Jewish organizations against the 1992 ALA resolution was laid out clearly by ADL national director Abraham Foxman. In a 1933 letter to ALA Director Sullivan he wrote, "The longer these resolutions remain on the books as ALA policy, the more legitimacy they gain among librarians and educators."(5)
The ALA's debate over Israeli censorship received so much media attention that it is doubtful that any librarian who followed it would maintain that Israel does not practice censorship. It is even more doubtful that any librarian, if asked by friends, family or colleagues, would boast that "in New Orleans in 1993, I cast my vote in opposition to human rights and in support of censorship." But, when the votes were counted, that's what a majority of those who took the time to attend the debate had done.

Notes:

(1.) On two different visits to the U.S., prize-winning Palestinian journalist Taher Shriteh and Israeli peace activist and magazine editor Roni Ben-Efrat in meetings with U.S. peace groups and with the Washington Report, both provided numerous examples of Israeli harassment and torture they and others had experienced.

(2.) The Link, Vol. 15, No. 1.

(3.) Alternative Library Literature, 1990/1991.

(4.) Robert I. Friedman's exposι of the ADL's three-decade policy of spying on U.S. citizens and attempts at censorship entitled "The Jewish Thought Police" in the Village Voice, July 27, 1993.

(5.) Amy J. Kramer, "Jewish Librarians Upset With Chicagoan's anti- Israel Efforts," Chicago Jewish Star, June 11, 1993.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Lorenz, Andrea W
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Rape is a War Crime

Molinari, Susan. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 19.


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Special Report: Rape is a War Crime
Rape as an instrument of war has reached a sophisticated new level in the Balkan Crisis. A January 1993 European Commission report estimated 20,000 Slavic Muslim women and girls had been raped in Bosnia alone, with females 10 to 30 years old as primary targets. A "rape strategy" exists as part of an overall plan of ethnic cleansing, one that has been graphically documented by journalists such as USA Today's Tom Suitieri and victims rights advocates like Human Rights Watch's Dorothy Thomas, who have seen it first-hand.

I met two rape camp survivors in Bosnia this spring. They were pregnant by Serbian soldiers, and we spoke through a translator about the unrelenting rape and torture that they had endured. They were allowed to leave the camp when they became pregnant (after being raped about 10 times a day until they got that way) and past being able to abort. They were in Zagreb waiting to give birth, waiting to abandon their babies and return to their villages to try to find their families. If their families or any neighbors found out that they had been touched by a Serbian soldier, however, they would be thrown out of the village, ostracized, or even killed, because they had been disgraced. As much as they had been through, they had little to look forward to, and they had to keep their horror to themselves. The whole time we spoke they betrayed no emotion, no sorrow, no animation at all. Their lives had been destroyed.

Currently, rape is not specifically listed as a war crime according to the definitions handed down from the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is partly due to international law's continued failure to recognize gender-specific crimes. Rape is recognized by the Convention as a "crime against humanity," but not specifically as a war crime.

I have sponsored a bill in the House of Representatives which would urge the U.N. to treat rape as seriously as other violations of international human rights law, by specifically including rape as a war crime within its charter. Correcting that omission is the first step we can take toward ending this heinous situation.

Women have been raped in the name of war before, treated like property or spoils. But never has rape been a strategic plan in the larger scheme of a war before the Balkan conflict. The civilized world must do what it takes to stop it and make sure it does not happen again.

Last May the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 808, which promised justice for the victims by creating a war crimes tribunal. To date, justice is on hold while the rape continues. Since May, no judge has been appointed to review the cases, no prosecutors have been named, and few, if any, official investigations have been conducted. And the later these investigations start, the harder collecting evidence will become.

Independent human rights groups such as the Helsinki Watch and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) have started the long process of investigating camps and collecting evidence. Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul University and Catherine MacKinnon of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor have also been working to document the rapes in order to be ready when the prosecutions begin. These individuals and groups will hopefully pressure the U.N. to act.

But the rape will probably not stop until the war stops. The United Nations and the West have a responsibility to end this conflict, as the war now seriously threatens to spread. The first step is to lift the arms embargo so the Muslims can defend themselves, but that step is almost moot, as the time is past for making this a fair fight. The Serbs have grown bold with the West's empty threats and they now openly attack U.N. troops. Only air strikes against their troops and supply lines will slow them down. It is time to intervene and stop the fighting, and only then can the healing begin.

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Alumni Assn. of the Beirut Community School 68
American Bahraini Friendship Society 104
American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 29
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) 109
Arabesque Collection 88
Arabic Tutorial 66
Arabic Yellow Pages 90
Council for the National Interest (CNI) 106
Georgetown Compass 40
Intercontinental Books 101
Islamic Book Center 49
Islamic Software Corporation (ISL) 37
Middle East Marketplace 105
Middle East Photo 30
Quran Base Software 19
United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) 70
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Molinari, Susan
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Speaking Out: Israel's Attack on Lebanon Signals Major U.S. Policy Change

Findley, Paul. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 20.


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Speaking Out: Israel's Attack on Lebanon Signals Major U.S. Policy Change
It is reasonable to believe that Israel's assault on southern Lebanon had the tacit if not explicit approval of senior officials within the United States government. The approval, I am sure, was never placed in writing or perhaps even stated precisely in conversation. It was more likely conveyed in the words "we understand," and even that thought may well have been expressed entirely through sympathetic silence, not words.

I reach this conclusion for a number of reasons.

First and foremost, it fits the new "dual containment" doctrine recently announced, although unofficially, by a top hand in the U.S. State Department. Samuel Lewis, U.S. ambassador to Israel for eight years, who was brought back from retirement to be the Clinton administration's new head of policy planning at the State Department, in a remarkable burst of candor several weeks ago confirmed what should have been obvious to all: U.S. policy in the Middle East is not evenhanded.

Then he added a bombshell: "It consists of two main objectives: keeping Israel militarily strong on one hand, and, on the other, maintaining a dual containment policy, namely against Iran and Iraq.”

It was an astounding statement, as it represented a profound change from past policy. In recent years, the U.S. government has tried to play Iran and Iraq against each other, supporting Iraq when Iran became too expansionist and vice versa. Now, according to Lewis, U.S. policy is to contain them both simultaneously through the application of U.S. resources both directly and via a militarily-strengthened Israel.

Second, Israel explained its assault on Lebanon by blaming guerrillas within that country, mainly Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah (Party of God) units, for firing the first shots. Official Jerusalem said the assault was retaliation for rocket fire Hezbollah lobbed across the border onto Israeli territory. It was a deliberate deception, but it was not challenged by the U.S. media. The truth is that Arabs in southern Lebanon (including Hezbollah units) kept their attacks within the part of southern Lebanon illegally occupied by Israeli forces. There were no Israelis killed in Israel until after Israeli howitzers began killing Lebanese civilians.

Third, the Clinton administration did not lift a finger to halt or moderate Israel's assault. On the contrary, the U.S. blocked efforts to call an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council where the attack could have been debated.

The administration did not lift a finger to halt or moderate Israel's assault.

During his latest diplomatic foray into the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher characterized the Israeli assault as a blessing in disguise that may stimulate the so-called peace process.

Responding to a newsman's question about the assault, President Bill Clinton said, "I don't think we should allow Hezbollah and all these terrorist groups in the Middle East to derail the peace process by what they do.”

Fourth, the Clinton administration has done nothing to force Israel to return nearly 400 Muslims marooned on a hilltop in southern Lebanon.

They were abducted by Israeli forces and taken there last December. In carrying out the expulsion, Israel claimed the Muslims were radical troublemakers. One of the last initiatives of the administration of President George Bush was to castigate Israel for the expulsion. He supported a resolution in the U.N. Security Council demanding the swift and safe return of those expelled.

On taking office, the Clinton administration reversed U.S. policy. It blocked efforts by the Security Council to impose sanctions against Israel and has shown no interest in the plight of those expelled. When Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had his initial White House conference, President Clinton did not mention the episode. Instead he pledged a continuation of undiminished aid to Israel, despite pressure on the U.S. budget, and left a strong hint that the aid level will increase. He also spoke of a "strategic partnership" in which the United States and Israel would cooperate to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in the region and, significantly to meet the threat from Iran and Iraq.

At the time the term "dual containment" had not surfaced in public, but the significance of Clinton's comment is now clear. During that meeting, Israel and the United States became partners in the containment of both Iraq and Iran.

A New Enemy Needed
Fifth, needing a new enemy against which to warn the United States now that the Soviet threat had disappeared, Israel has been working assiduously-- and with considerable success--to convince the American people that Islam poses a threat to Western values as ominous as the one formerly presented by Moscow.

Listening to Israeli officialdom, one cannot escape the conclusion that the threat comes on two main tracks. On one is the danger of military conquest posed by Baghdad, on the other, religious revolution exported by Teheran.

Dr. David Killion, a professor at Scripps College in Claremont, California, even suggests that, in attacking Lebanon, the Israelis were following the U.S. lead, not the other way around. In a commentary published in The Washington Post, Killion writes that dual containment reverses "a traditional approach of U.S. foreign-policy makers in which they seek to balance traditional enemies Iran and Iraq, one against the other, by supporting whichever power is vulnerable at a given time.”

Killion adds, "After three days of bombardment, it became clear that Israeli strategy was not only to attack Hezbollah positions but also to forcibly depopulate the entire southern region of Lebanon and to destroy the infrastructure and housing in southern villages so that repopulation would be difficult. The Israelis appear to see the Shi'i Muslim population in southern Lebanon as enemies, since Israelis believe these people are `sympathetic' to Hezbollah, providing `cover' to the `terrorist' group.”

The U.S. relationship to Israel's assault has an interesting echo from the past. In depopulating and destroying villages, Israel went beyond what the United States expected or wished, just as Israel's 1982 Lebanese war went beyond what Washington expected or wished.

In both 1982 and 1993, the U.S. administration gave an initial green light to Israeli aggression. President Ronald Reagan wanted the PLO rooted from Lebanon, but objected to Israel's indiscriminate bombing of Beirut. President Bill Clinton wanted Hezbollah and other radical units removed from southern Lebanon, but objected when the assault killed more than 130 civilians, wounded 500 others, flattened villages, and forced 250,000 to flee. But neither Reagan nor Clinton was concerned enough at these excesses to use the presidential levers that could have forced Israel to stop.

Whether dual containment is the invention of Israel or the United States is unimportant. What is important are the dangers for the United States this new policy entails. By assuming this task and accepting Israel as a strategic partner, the U.S. will pay a heavy price.

First, the new axis makes the United States the common enemy of both Iraq and Iran and will promote cooperation, not conflict, between these traditional enemies. The result: a threat from these countries more menacing than before.

Second, it will erode what remains of goodwill for the United States throughout the Islamic world, and particularly the Arab states. The new United States-Israel axis will intensify suspicions aroused by Israel's broad public relations campaign to defame Islam. In this campaign, Israel has sought to portray itself as a bulwark defending Western civilization against the "threat" of Islam. Muslim countries may well conclude that containment of Iraq and Iran by U.S.-Israeli forces is just a screen for a new brand of Western imperialism in the Middle East.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Findley, Paul
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Diplomacy: Lord David Owen; The "Dr. Death" of Balkan Diplomacy

Williams, Ian. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 21.


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Diplomacy: Lord David Owen; The "Dr. Death" of Balkan Diplomacy
Described as "the Doctor Jack Kervorkian of Diplomacy" by Muhamed Sacirbey, Bosnian ambassador to the United Nations, Lord David Owen is one of the oddest choices ever for an international mediator. His ego has defied the forces of political gravity, keeping him afloat when all his enterprises have sunk about him. His constant exhortations to the Bosnians to accept whatever terms the Serbs deign to offer seem more designed to prove his various "peace plans" successful than to serve justice or humanity. According to Edward Mortimer of the London Financial Times, Owen's colleagues compare him with the Allied prisoner of war played by Alec Guinness in "Bridge Over the River Kwai" who ferociously resists Allied attempts to destroy the bridge that he and his World War II fellow prisoners have been forced to build for the Japanese.

A medical doctor, whose saturnine countenance led him to be dubbed "Doctor Death" by the British satirical magazine Private Eye, David Owen entered politics as a Labor MP in 1966. He rose rapidly through the ranks to become Britain's foreign secretary in 1976, and kept the post for a year and a half. Later, he parlayed his brief cabinet tenure into perennial TV punditry as "former foreign secretary.”

"It was probably a premature promotion for David," wrote British Labor leader Dennis Healey in his memoirs. "He began to mask his insecurity with an arrogance which was found offensive by many of those who worked for him, from permanent secretary to his messenger or driver.”

On another occasion, Healey was even less charitable about David Owen: "The good fairies gave the young doctor almost everything: thick dark locks, matinee idol features, a lightning intelligence--unfortunately the bad fairy also made him a s--t.”

In 1981 he was one of the leaders of a split in the Labor Party, which at its peak attracted 29 defectors to the new Social Democratic Party. As a manifesto, he republished an earlier book, Face the Future, which now painstakingly deleted all the copious references to socialism that the text had included shortly before, when he had been bidding for control of the Labor Party.

One of the new party's major planks was support for European unity. This is ironic, in view of the sordid deal between the EC partners which led directly to the Balkan tragedy that horrifies the world today. As the Yugoslav Federation began to crack, the British government backed precipitate German recognition for Roman Catholic Croatia and Slovenia in return for Bonn's agreement to let Britain opt out of the "social charter provisions" of the European unification treaty.

By 1987 Owen's party was down to five MPs and soon after down to two--of which Dr. Owen constituted 50 percent. Healey says that "this was largely due to David Owen's rebarbative personality," and quotes one of his partners, Roy Jenkins, as saying that Owen "was like the fabulous Upas tree, which destroys all life for miles around it." His egotism, and publicly reiterated conviction of his own superiority, made it impossible for his fellow plotters to persuade him to join with the Liberal Party since he stood little chance of controlling the merged party. Like the last of the Byzantine emperors, he did not mind losing political power as long as he could keep the title of Leader of whatever remained.

In 1992, he stood down from the House of Commons and was promptly made a member of the House of Lords by a grateful Conservative Party which, as expected, won the seat he had vacated. Private Eye no longer referred to him as Doctor Death. It now called him Lord Death.

His ego has defied the forces of political gravity.

The irony of inviting him to assist Cyrus Vance in mediating differences between the parties in Bosnia was clear for those who had followed his career in Britain. Introducing into the fissioning Balkans the man who had split the Labor Party, divided the Liberal Social Democrat alliance and then run the Social Democratic Party into the ground was on a par with putting Herod in charge of infant care.

The first Vance-Owen plan called for the splitting of Bosnia-Herzegovina into a dozen or so cantons, each of them ethnically mixed, on the dubious premise that the country as a whole could not survive an ethnically mixed polity. For a year, his mediation consisted of telling the Bosnians to give up their dreams of a multicultural democracy, and to put their trust in the hands of people the rest of the world regarded as war criminals. Bosnian Croats and Muslims accepted the plan, but the Serbs kept on seizing territory by force. The plan collapsed. Vance withdrew but, instead of resigning, Lord Owen stayed on to act as choirmaster to attempts by the Europeans to deprive the ethnically mixed Bosnian government troops of arms to defend themselves and force the Bosnian government to accept the demands Owen himself had previously declared unacceptable.

Most recently he has deplored U.S. suggestions that NATO should belatedly act to implement the innumerable U.N. resolutions about protecting Bosnians before the embattled capital succumbs to the rapists and ethnic cleansers, on grounds that such military support might stiffen President Izetbegovic's resistance to diplomatic rape in Geneva. Indeed, Owen's illconcealed bad temper at the Bosnians for not surrendering brings to mind the Roman historian who said, "They made a desert and called it peace." No matter how tragic the final result, Lord Owen is likely to regard it as the crowning achievement of his brief diplomatic career.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Lord David Owens)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Williams, Ian
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Right to Left: As Clinton Dithers, Bosnia Dies

Jones, Nathan. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 28.


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Right to Left: As Clinton Dithers, Bosnia Dies
George, no one got what they voted for last November. I voted on foreign policy because I think what we do abroad right now will determine the number and quality of the domestic jobs the politicians will be dividing at home for a long time to come. I voted against a Slick Willie who had an answer to every question for the evening sound bites, but whose numbers didn't add up the next morning.

Others concerned with foreign policy voted for Willie the Wonk because they believed when he turned his compassionate intelligence to foreign policy, the results would be good.

What we all got was Waffling Willie. He promised to sustain the momentum of the Middle East peace talks. To do it, however, he sped up the naturalization of Martin Indyk, a former adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and former lobbyist for Israel, to be the White House Middle East adviser. By the end of Clinton's first month in office the peace talks were derailed.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who owes his Labor Party victory in Israel a year ago to Bush administration pressure on Shamir, may be in a panic. Since there no longer is even a pretext of U. S. financial coercion on Israel to trade land for peace, Rabin knows the Israeli voters can replace him with Likud strongman Binyamin Netanyahu, who doesn't conceal his own desire to keep all the land by sweeping the Palestinians out of it.

That's a bigger bite than Israel ever can chew, and Israel's immigrants from Europe and their children know it. They are leaving the country in droves. Some because they don't like the prospect of facing increasingly sophisticated Scud missiles every decade or so. Some because they don't relish living in a country to which the fascism and fundamentalism that made a Jew's life hell in Eastern Europe in the first half of this century now is following them.

Even worse, however, is Bill Clinton's unwillingness or inability to turn back the wave of ethnic and religious genocide that is a brushfire in Bosnia now, but will become a roaring forest fire in Eastern Europe if it isn't checked.

During the election campaign Clinton promised a more activist policy in Bosnia, and what he suggested on taking office made sense. He would lobby the U. N. to lift the arms embargo that kept only the legitimate government of Bosnia, not its Serb and Croat tormentors, from getting arms to defend Bosnian borders.

Instead of just sending unarmed U.S. aircraft with relief supplies daily to Sarajevo and nightly to besieged Muslim areas, he also would send armed aircraft to support U. N. peacemakers protecting Sarajevo and other besieged enclaves, with airstrikes against the Serb artillery shelling "safe areas," and bomb the bridges between Serbia and Bosnia if necessary.

The Serbs twice stopped shelling when they thought U. S. planes might be coming. Clinton had Democratic and Republican support in Congress, and polls showed more Americans for intervention than against it, so long as it was part of an international effort.

Then, suddenly, it turned turned out we weren't lining up an international coalition, but were only in a "listening mode." What Americans heard was the negativism we always hear from Europeans.

President Clinton should have been choosing among the military and political options presented by his staff, explaining them to Congress and the American people, and sending his secretary of state out to get the Western Europeans aboard. That's what the Europeans expected and might have welcomed. Instead, Clinton has blamed the Europeans for the failure of U. S. leadership. Meanwhile the Republic of Bosnia, to which the U.S. has granted formal recognition, dies under Serbian guns.

"Not since the siege of Leningrad or Stalingrad has there been anything like it," said the Christian Science Monitor. "The fall of multiethnic Sarajevo would have implications well beyond the human tragedy. It would represent the victory of a systematic racist and fascist policy and begin to define the geopolitical world." The Washington Post has called it "one of the great set pieces of political tragedy of the late 20th century.”

George, is it possible Bill Clinton never heard of Ethiopia in 1935, and Czechoslovakia in 1938? In both places, early and unified collective action might have saved the 55 million lives lost in World War II.

The White House let it be known President Clinton was disturbed by the television footage from Bosnia he saw while he was in Tokyo. Where has he been while the rest of us have been watching this sickening slaughter for more than a year--playing video games?

This is a defining moment for his presidency and for some semblance of world order, but we're stuck with a president who loves to schmooze, make friends and run for election, but obviously hates to lead. While the Middle East peace process, Bosnia, and the "new world order" are dying, Bill Clinton's been looking for someone else to blame.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Jones, Nathan
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Right To Left: Clinton Faces Horrendous Obstacles

Thompson, George. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 28.


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Right to Left: Clinton Faces Horrendous Obstacles
When you say Clinton "loves to schmooze ... but hates to lead," Nate, you must have missed the interview with Larry King in which an obviously chastened Bill Clinton freely admitted his transformation from sultry-swan governor to uglyduckling president.

It happened, he said, because he "had forgotten how difficult it was to get anything done in Washington." Amen!
I voted for him--as presumably did millions of other thinking citizens-- precisely because he was NOT a duplicitous wheeler-dealer.

We had hoped--and, God help us, still do--that his backwoods charismatic charm and much needed intelligence would bring some semblance of order to the myriad changes happening both here and abroad.

You, and many other obviously disappointed voters, expect too much too soon. Consider that, other than FDR and JFK, few modern presidents have promised to do so much in so short a time.

Consider the truly horrendous obstacles at home that continue to make a mockery of his promises: slumping economic conditions and the truly dangerous state of the national psyche, including the constantly shifting socio- psychological factors that govern what citizens believe or don't believe and like or--increasingly--don't like.

Consider such very-close-to-home things as rising crime, youth violence, breakup of the traditional family model and loss of its attendant values, the heated controversy over what to do with gays in the military, unwanted babies in the womb and the stupidity of most members of Congress.

That's what's facing Bill Clinton at home. Consider the devastating effect on every human being on this planet of the end of the Cold War: of nations big and small whose coffers no longer bulge with economic and military gratuities for having taken one side or the other; of no longer having an external enemy to unify citizen/subject within; of being forced to find another to fill the need. That's what's facing Clinton abroad.

Consider that what he needs now more than anything else is congressional backing for his policies--both here and abroad. Without their votes, he will fail. Nate, the terrible truth is that too many senators and representatives back him at their peril.

Consider the Middle East peace initiative. Do you honestly believe that the massive Israeli lobby in the U.S. would permit any elected official to side with the Palestinians?

Ergo, enter Martin Indyk, an obvious sop for votes, and an open door for Israel to take advantage of Clinton's dilemma.

Feeling itself secure from intervention by a U.S. president preoccupied with ensuring his survival at home, Israel feels free to accelerate its brutal practice of gobbling up homes and land in the occupied territories and evicting or expelling its residents.

That's why this Arabist holds little hope for peace any time soon in the Middle East, much less establishment of a home for the Palestinians.

Consider also what is happening in other countries where tribal leaders, whose fetters fell at Cold War's end, now fell free to pursue ancient enemies in resurrecting long-dormant religious and ethnic differences.

As I said in my op-ed piece in USA Today on May 25:

"Saber-rattlers beware! Those who believe `just a little more of this or a little more of that' will end the Bosnian conflict forget that war is like pregnancy: easy to start, hard to stop.

"Many casually cite Vietnam as an analogy; some protest that it is not an apt comparison; but who remembers how, when or even why we slid down THAT slippery slope.”

Few modern presidents have promised to do so much so soon.

I'll skip the chronology, presumably well-known to readers of this magazine, but:

"There's more, of course: Massive protests in the streets of U.S. cities and on college campuses, violent confrontations between opponents and supporters of U. S. involvement in the war, pardons for thousands of draft evaders, 16,000 veterans poisoned by Agent Orange, thousands of GI-fathered Asian children, the still-missing POWs and 58,000 names on a black marble wall in Washington.

"Balance that against potential intervention in Bosnia. Consider 1) The conflict is 500 years old. 2) It is based on religious and ethnic differences among fiercely independent Serbs, Croats and Muslims. 3) Each is battling bitterly for land each considers its heritage. 4) The end of the Cold War removed behavioral restraints in their quest--including being allied against a common enemy.

"Consider also a proverb known well in that part of the world. `The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'
"Four questions remain: 1) Whose side do we take? 2) Why? 3) Crude, but necessary, what's in it for us? 4) And like a mother-to-be with second thoughts, what happens if something goes wrong? Will we try just a little more?”

Nate, you have to understand what faces Bill Clinton at home to be fair or realistic about what policies he may or may not be able to pursue abroad.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Thompson, George
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Peace Process: Jerusalem Increasingly Seen as Issue Destroying the Peace Process

Howard, Michael. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 30.


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The Peace Process: Jerusalem Increasingly Seen as Issue Destroying the Peace Process
The status of Jerusalem is of concern to hundreds of millions of adherents of three religions--Islam, Christianity and Judaism. All three faiths lay claim to a voice in the disposition of the city of King David, Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad.

Israeli policies since the occupation of Arab East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of June 1967 are designed to prejudge the issue. New housing complexes for Jewish residents in the east of the city, the confiscation of Arab-owned land, and the refusal to grant permits for rehabilitation of buildings in Arab quarters are designed to change the demographics of the city.

While carrying out these policies, the Israeli government has sought to put international discussion of Jerusalem on the back burner of the Middle East peace process. But deferring the issue means only that as the peace process stumbles along, the unresolved question of Jerusalem casts its shadow over all of the other efforts of the peacemakers. Should the status of Jerusalem be given priority in the Middle East peace process, as advocated by the Palestinians, or are the Israelis right in deferring any discussion of it until all other issues are settled?

This question was addressed by an 11-person panel, including both Israelis and Palestinians, in Athens earlier this year at an "informal encounter" organized by the United Nations, sponsored by the Greek government, and entitled, "Jerusalem: Visions of Reconciliation.”

The meeting was the first at such a level to deal specifically with the issues of sovereignty over the city, municipal responsibilities and tangible confidence-building measures. Israeli Labor Party Knesset member and panelist Yael Dayan pointed out it also was the first such U.N. "informal" discussion to get the blessing of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. That, she insisted, represented a tangible shift by the Labor government from the Likud approach.

Sami Musallam, director of the PLO president's office in Tunis, deplored the change in "the demographic character of the Holy City." He charged Israeli authorities with imposing a 26 percent "lid" on the percentage of Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem in order to "affect elections on the status of the city.”

Dayan insisted that a solution to the Jerusalem problem would emerge once an interim framework had been worked out during the planned period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza.

"No Israeli government is then going to say that Jerusalem is the indivisible capital of Israel," said Dayan. In her outspoken speech she also attributed progress toward peace to a change in Palestinian tactics. "The intifada should have started a lot earlier," she said. "It is resistance, not terror, and has produced some positive results.”

Though she called Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's decision to expel some 400 alleged Hamas supporters a "disastrous decision," Dayan nevertheless insisted there are differences in approach between the current Labor government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the former Likud administration of Yitzhak Shamir. She appealed for the Palestinians to stick with the peace process, saying that if it and the Labor government failed, Israel would be plunged into another decade of rightwing rule and any hope for progress on the Palestinian issue would end.

Dayan, the daughter of Gen. Moshe Dayan, who was Israel's minister of defense in 1967 when it occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, angered some of the Palestinian panelists by saying that the overall solution to the Palestinian problem lies in Israeli hands. "The U.N. will not deliver Palestine to the Palestinians, nor will the United States, Russia or Saddam Hussain," she argued.

Sari Nusseibeh, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team steering committee, countered that in the final analysis it was "only the Palestinians that can give legitimation to the Israelis." Even more angrily, Public Relations Director Albert Aghazarian of Bir Zeit University, an adviser to the Palestinian negotiating team, denounced Dayan's words as "tantamount to an advanced form of terrorism." He vividly described the daily difficulties faced by his students in the occupied territories as they try to negotiate their way to their classes through army checkpoints and roadblocks.

Israeli Moshe Amirav, a Jerusalem city councilman, drew attention to the economic problems faced by the Palestinians in Jerusalem--lack of housing and lack of representation on the commissions that provide city services. He urged Arab East Jerusalemites to "show a sense of practicality" and present a joint list of candidates for Jerusalem municipality elections. He stressed that all of its inhabitants must feel Jerusalem is "our city, not my city." He warned that if Likud wins the municipal elections in November, it will be bad for Palestinians, Israelis and Jerusalem itself.

Some of the Palestinians on the panel, however, doubted whether Arab Jerusalemites would be prepared to turn out in significant numbers for Israeli elections. Said publisher Hanna Siniora of East Jerusalem's Al Fajr newspaper: "Jerusalem is not united. It is divided by a wall of fear." He said Palestinians now are thinking of "rejuvenating" the East Jerusalem municipality with 24 councilors who could be appointed or elected, taking into account "the political and religious balance of the city.”

Discussing confidence-building measures, Sami Musallam said an end to the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem would be the best measure to build confidence between Israelis and Palestinians. "But until this happens," Musallam said, "small steps are needed in the right direction to recreate confidence lacking between the Israeli and Palestinian people." He suggested re-establishment of the Arab municipality in Jerusalem, guarantees of religious freedom and access to the holy places, and a lifting of a ban on the movement of Palestinians between the occupied territories.

In reply, Dayan said that "accepting the fact that Israel is here to stay and coming to terms with the reality of the situation is the most important step before proceeding to confidence-building measures ... We will not give you the keys [to the creation of a Palestinian state] unless you guarantee the sovereignty of the Israeli state.”

Summing up, President Robert Keeley of the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC suggested reconsideration of the 1947 U.N. partition plan. It had some merits and dealt with the problems of Jerusalem in some interesting ways, he said.

Sari Nusseibeh commented that worth-while as the meeting had been, he felt that political rhetoric had at times sidetracked the debaters from the Jerusalem issue they had been invited to discuss.

Other panelists included Ruth Lapidoth, professor of international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Idith Zertal, columnist, Ha'aretz Network; Valery Kuzmin, Israel and Palestine section of the Middle East Department in the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation; and Constantine Prevedourakis, ambassador of Greece to Tunisia and former consul general of Greece in Jerusalem.

Mustapha Tilli, moderator of the encounter and chief of the Decolonization and Palestine programs of the U.N. Department of Public Information, presented the U.N. view on the issue. The Israeli and U.S. embassies in Athens were invited to send representatives but declined the offer.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Howard, Michael
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Israel's U.S. "Man For All Seasons" Unable to Play Same Role for Libya

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 31.


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Special Report: Israel's U.S. "Man For All Seasons" Unable to Play Same Role for Libya
"According to his own testimony to congressional investigators, Sofaer simultaneously played the roles of `department lawyer, president's lawyer, and the secretary of state's lawyer,' and saw `no conflict of interest.'“

--Investigative reporter Claudia Wright, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 1987
Even some members of Washington's pro-Israel establishment were scandalized at the July 13 revelation by Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland that attorney Abraham Sofaer, State Department general counsel from 1985 to 1990, had accepted a half-million-dollar retainer to represent Libyan interests in the United States.

It was Sofaer who had produced the legal justification for the 1986 airstrike on Muammar Qaddafi's residence, in which the Libyan leader's adopted baby daughter was killed, based on allegations that Libya was behind a December 1985 bombing in a Berlin nightclub in which two American soldiers and a Turkish woman died. It was after that U.S. raid on Libya that Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up over Scotland in 1988, with the loss of 270 lives. U.S. investigators, including Sofaer, blamed Libya for the Pan Am bombing, and Sofaer helped draft the U.S. response which led to the 1991 U.N. embargo on Libya.

Sofaer's new assignment, the Hoagland column revealed, would be to help Libya find ways to end the embargo, whose rationale Sofaer had helped devise. For some time there have been reports that Libya was seeking to influence the U.S. government through Israel and its powerful lobbying apparatus in Washington, DC.

A Washington Jewish Week report indicated that Sofaer might offer families of victims of the crash cash settlements from Libya, then seek a compromise with the U.S. government whereby the two Libyan government employees charged with complicity in the bombing would not have to stand trial in either the U.S. or UK. American authorities hope to try the accused in the U.S. because they believe by offering one or both immunity, they can be induced to testify that top levels in the Libyan government ordered the aircraft destroyed.

Families of Pan Am 103 victims immediately announced plans to picket Sofaer's Washington, DC office. "I think this is treason," said Susan Cohen, mother of one of the Pan Am 103 victims. "Sofaer is going to work for a terrorist country that has American blood on its hands.”

After Hoagland's column appeared, Sofaer, who had not consulted the State Department, asked its opinion. Hughes, Hubbard & Reed, Sofaer's Washington, DC law firm, however, didn't wait for a response before announcing on July 16 that, "Regrettably, the public perception of this undertaking and the reaction of government authorities has been so negative as to lead us to conclude that we could not effectively carry out this representation.”

In fact, the Libyan government previously had approached at least three other prominent lawyers in the national capital, according to the Washington Post. All turned down the commission and retainers as high as $1.5 million.

"Trying to Buy Influence”

"We are outraged that Sofaer . . . would attempt to get a payoff for the families so that the two Libyan agents could be tried outside the U.S. or Britain," said Rosemary Wolfe, president of a family support group. "It certainly appears that they're trying to buy influence," said Stephanie Bernstein, whose husband, Michael, deputy director of the Office of Special Investigations at the Department of Justice, was killed in the Pan Am bombing.

"I deeply regret not having gone to the families and discussed with them the representation," responded Sofaer, who seemed genuinely bewildered at the indignant public reaction. It is, in fact, the first time the U.S. mainstream has focused, even briefly, on his almost unbelievable career, encompassing repeated instances of seeming to protect the interests of the Israeli government, or individual Israeli officials, while being assigned by the U.S. government to investigate them.

Sofaer was born in Bombay in 1938 to a Jewish family from Baghdad. His parents brought him to the U.S. in 1948 and he became a U.S. citizen in 1959. In 1977, he married Marian Scheuer, a niece of Rep. James Scheuer (D-NY). His wife's family owns a home in Jerusalem, which Sofaer frequently visits.

He was a registered Democrat when he was appointed to a federal judgeship in New York in 1979. In that capacity his talent for spin control emerged into public view when he presided over a libel suit brought by former Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon against Time magazine. The newsweekly had reported that Sharon encouraged or incited Lebanese Maronite militiamen to massacre between 800 and 2,000 Palestinian men, women and children after Israeli forces surrounded the Sabra-Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut in 1982.

Sofaer seemed genuinely bewildered at the indignant public reaction.

Sharon, who already had been charged by an Israeli government commission with "indirect responsibility" for the massacre, had no chance of winning the suit, but Sofaer told the jury to render separate verdicts on each of three questions: whether Time's account was accurate; whether Sharon had suffered damages as a result; and whether the Time account was "malicious"--meaning that the magazine had rushed to print with charges it knew to be erroneous or distorted.

Jury findings that Time's account contained inaccuracies and that Sharon's reputation had suffered as a result of the account made headlines for the first two days, obscuring the final, key finding that there had been no malice, and therefore no libel. Sharon then returned to his political career in Israel claiming that even though he had lost the lawsuit, the New York jury had "vindicated" him.

Meanwhile, after Ronald Reagan was elected president, Sofaer changed his voter registration from Democrat to Republican. On June 9, 1985, he was sworn in as legal adviser to the State Department. Within four months he had drafted a legal justification of the Oct. 1, 1985 Israeli bombing of PLO headquarters in Tunisia, calling it a "defensive" action in retaliation for the killing of three alleged Israeli Mossad agents in Cyprus six days earlier on Sept. 25. This bypassed the requirement in U.S. law mandating a cutoff of military assistance to countries which use U.S.-supplied weapons for other than defensive purposes.

The same raid figured prominently in another Sofaer damage-control operation after the FBI arrested U.S. naval counter-intelligence specialist Jonathan Jay Pollard for spying for Israel. In a pre-sentencing memorandum to the court, Pollard revealed that prior to the Israeli attack on Tunis, "I spent two hectic weeks collecting information pertaining to Libya's defense reporting system and the PLO's disposition of anti-aircraft weapons.”

Since the Israeli attack supposedly was retaliation for the Cyprus incident only six days earlier, Pollard's memorandum made it clear that Israel was planning the strike before the Cyprus killings occurred. Sofaer simply ignored the Pollard revelation that should have reversed his opinion.

Sofaer had demonstrated even more awesome damage-control skills earlier, after Pollard's arrest. After the original "factual proffer," dated June 3, 1986, detailing the charges to which Pollard was pleading guilty, reached Sofaer's office, a dozen charges were simply crossed out by hand and the document was retyped and redated June 4.

Facts deleted in Sofaer's office included information that Pollard had passed "satellite photographs" to the Israelis and confirmation that Pollard had passed to Israel detailed U.S. data on "scientific and technical developments in Soviet/Warsaw Pact weapons and weapons systems." Such material would have been invaluable to Soviet counter-intelligence specialists in devising ways to protect their secrets from U.S. detection.

Sofaer's office also requested that references in the document to "representatives of the government of Israel" be changed to less damaging references to Pollard's "handlers." This helped lend public credence to Israel's claims that Pollard's espionage had not been sanctioned at top government levels.

It also was Sofaer who led a U.S. team to Israel to determine why, after Israel promised to make the officials involved in Pollard's espionage available for questioning in the U.S., it smuggled them back to Israel. The Sofaer team also was charged with determining what documents Pollard had stolen.

Although the Israeli officials were offered for interview in Israel only, and his team returned with only 163 documents of the thousands of pages stolen, Sofaer did not object publicly. Later, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Joseph diGenova, who accompanied Sofaer on the December 1985 trip to Israel, said Sofaer pressured him not to search for Pollard's Israeli and American collaborators.

Sofaer's damage-control efforts in the investigation of the Iran-contra scandal were equally successful for Israel, but not for his Reagan administration employers. For his efforts, he was hailed by the Washington Post as a "whistleblower" within the Reagan administration. His whistle was blown, however, when his Reagan administration colleagues wanted to deny that they had authorized two of the initial Israeli shipments of U.S. arms to Iran.

Sofaer was able to protect Israeli interests because he had persuaded Reagan's secretary of state, George Shultz, to channel all State Department investigations of the Iran affair through a group working in his office, and to control press inquiries through this same group. Its members were Nicholas Rostow, son of Eugene Rostow, who ended up writing much of the Tower Commission report, Jeffrey Kovar and Joy Yanagida. Astonishingly, according to an article by investigative reporter Claudia Wright in the September 1987 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, while protecting Israeli interests at several key points in the 1985-1986 investigation, Sofaer also recommended that the U.S. government continue its secret negotiations with Iran through Israel.

Shielding Israel from Criticism
Sofaer's best-known service to Israel-U.S. relations was his role in Egyptian-Israeli negotiations for Israeli withdrawal from Taba, a tiny enclave containing a beach hotel and tourist camp on the Gulf of Aqaba which Israel refused to leave even after it had withdrawn from the rest of Sinai in accordance with the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement. By steadfastly refusing to assign blame during the two-year period before the Israeli government finally yielded, Sofaer shielded Israel from much of the press criticism its intransigence would otherwise have earned.

In a curious postscript perhaps related more to Israeli domestic politics than any other factor, Sofaer subsequently was accused in the Israeli press of smuggling valuable antiquities out of Israel during the period he was mediating the Taba dispute.

Since leaving U.S. government service, Sofaer has remained a major player in the pro-Israel establishment in the U.S. national capital. Last May 19, he and two other Hughes, Hubbard & Reed attorneys registered with the U.S. Justice Department as foreign agents in order to represent former Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Andreotti, who is under Italian government investigation for allegedly serving as the Sicilian Mafia's long-time protector within the Italian government.

The Washington Jewish Week reported that an unnamed Washington source "with close ties to both the Italian and Libyan governments" said Andreotti, who served as Italian prime minister seven times starting in the 1970s, was "Qaddafi's godfather for 25 years" and "protected him from Italian response" to such Libyan provocations as attacks on Libyan political dissidents living in Italy. Sofaer has denied speaking to Andreotti about Libya.

There is little question, however, that employment of U.S. public relations or legal representatives closely associated with Israel increasingly is seen by foreign individuals or nations as a way to buy influence or immunity in Washington.

How well it works was demonstrated by the speed with which two prominent members of Washington's pro-Israel community came to Sofaer's defense. "It's important not to ascribe the problems of a client to the lawyer that represents them," former Carter administration domestic political adviser Stuart Eizenstat told the Washington Jewish Week. Eizenstat, who has been appointed by President Bill Clinton as U.S. ambassador to the European Community in Brussels, said there is "nothing in [Sofaer's] prior position that would create ethical problems.”

In another statement to the Washington Jewish Week, Nathan Lewin, president of the American section of the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, seemed to be seeking to defuse criticism of Sofaer from within the American Jewish community. Lewin cited "a popular misconception about what it means to represent someone.”

With such soothing statements, the affair may drop out of the U.S. mainstream media almost as rapidly as Sofaer dropped the assignment. Nevertheless, the public reaction to Hoagland's revelations obviously caught Sofaer by surprise.

After such a breathtakingly successful record of serving two masters without arousing media criticism, it is little wonder that Sofaer expected no opposition to his agreement with Libya. In his previous adventures, however, Sofaer's motive for playing fast and loose with his U.S. government employers was to protect Israel or its leaders.

In his latest commission to outsmart the U.S. government on behalf of Libya, his mistake may have been to move too rapidly, especially for the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims. With Israel seemingly not involved, he learned, the media's double standard is inoperative, even when applied by Israel's American man for all seasons, Abraham D. Sofaer.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Narrow "Establishment" Parameters Limit Pakistani Democracy

Ghaznavi, Masood. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 33.


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Special Report: Narrow "Establishment" Parameters Limit Pakistani Democracy
Restoration of Pakistan's dismissed prime minister and its dissolved National Assembly by the country's Supreme Court on May 26, 1993, was hailed in Pakistan and abroad as a triumph of democracy and the rule of law. Nawaz Sharif, the restored prime minister, secured an enthusiastic vote of confidence from a jubilant National Assembly the following day.

The verdict was accepted by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, whose dismissal orders the Supreme Court ruling had over-turned. Yet, within less than two months of his restoration, and still enjoying the support of a parliamentary majority, Nawaz Sharif had to resign as prime minister and ask the president to dissolve the National Assembly "in the larger interests of the country.”

A Sudden Surrender
Why did Nawaz Sharif, who had fought to retain his elected position as prime minister, suddenly surrender? Simply put-because the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Abdul Waheed Kakar "advised" him to do so. For good measure, the general also asked the president to dissolve the National and Provincial Assemblies, order new elections and resign. This army "neutrality" had to be demonstrated because in the power struggle between the president and the prime minister, both the contestants belonged to what the Pakistanis call "the Establishment"--composed of the military and the career bureaucracy.

Thus, on July 18, 1993, Pakistan's 15th prime minister in 22 years of civilian rule was sworn in to oversee national and provincial elections scheduled for Oct. 6 and 9, respectively. The man chosen for this caretaker assignment, Dr. Moeen Qureshi, was reportedly the choice of the outgoing president, and was endorsed by the outgoing prime minister and by his principal rival and leader of the opposition, Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Of the 14 previous prime ministers, only one resigned after losing his majority in the parliament. All of the others were dismissed, deposed or eased out by bureaucrats-turned- politicians or by the army chiefs. (See box.)
Dr. Qureshi, a brilliant economist who had been with the IMF and the World Bank for 33 years, is as neutral a person as possible, having been away from Pakistan virtually all of his professional life. Whether he will be able to ensure free elections will depend very much on the military high command. The current army chief, who was appointed to the job by the outgoing president, is reportedly "not political at all" and "a pure professional soldier." But that is what they said of all the generals who deposed elected prime ministers, changed the constitution and then ruled themselves.

The writer has discussed the supremacy of the highly centralized army and bureaucracy as the two ruling institutions of Pakistan in a previous article, in the October 1990 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, reprinted in Annual Editions: The Third World 1992/3, Guilford, CT.

Bureaucrats-turned-politicians, with the army's support, took over total control of Pakistan from 1951 to 1958, when martial law first was imposed. During this period they dismissed six prime ministers, dissolved two parliaments and abrogated the constitutions all "in the larger interests of Pakistan." There followed 25 years of military rule, with one interruption.

When civilian rule was restored in 1988, Pakistan's most senior bureaucrat, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, long past retirement age, and right-hand man of the military ruler General Zia ul-Haq, became president. Two years after assuming the presidency, in 1990 he fired elected prime minister Benazir Bhutto, dissolved the National Assembly and ordered fresh elections. Then, in 1993 he fired his own protege, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who also owed his entry into politics to General Zia. It was that dismissal that was voided by the Supreme Court. But, in the last analysis, the establishment could not be defeated. If Ishaq wanted to take Pakistan back to the 1950s and the years of bureaucratic supremacy, the army, it seems, wanted to run the country through an indirectly elected president rather than the elected prime minister. To that end they had secured an amendment to the constitution of Pakistan, Article 58 (2) (b), giving the president the powers to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve the National Assembly.

Now, with those powers voided by the Supreme Court, how will the military- bureaucratic establishment control the political life of Pakistan, while maintaining the facade of democracy?

Before discussing the institution that enables the establishment to control the political and economic life of Pakistan, one fact should be recognized. Whereas states all over the world have armies, in Pakistan, the army has a state.

Army generals despise politicians, but want political power. A British journalist recently described a Pakistani general's remark that politicians were like little children. "We let them play with their toys for a while," he said, "but then someone has to impose discipline and stop them from becoming a nuisance.”

What makes the assertion of this kind of power and infallibility on the part of the armed forces possible is not so much their guns as the politico- social structure of Pakistani society. Despite large-scale urbanization in the past four of five decades, Pakistan continues to be largely agricultural, feudal, tribal, clannish and caste-ridden.

The Factionalism of Tribal-Feudal Life
Even when they move to urban areas, people bring their loyalties, particularism, prejudices, customs and institutions with them. Their hereditary chiefs, whether they are the Chaudhris of Jats, Gujjars, Arain, Rajputs and other tribes of Punjab; Maliks of the Khattaks, Kakars and various-Zais and - Khels of the Pathans; Sardars of Bugti, Marri, Bizenjo and Zehris of the Baluch; or the Waderas of Talpurs, Bhuttos, Jatois, etc., of Sindh, all have two things in common: arrogance and factionalism. This factionalism, the most important political institution of the tribal-feudal life, not only marks one tribe against the other, but divides tribes into rival clans, faction against faction, cousin against cousin, and so forth. This factionalism is a great gift to any power, imperial or otherwise, which divides and rules until another combination of power takes over. It has been going on for centuries.

Another surprising characteristic of the members of this hereditary class- arrogant, powerful, "eternal" and intolerant of the success of their rivals as they are--is their submissiveness, almost servility, to men holding governmental power in the country, no matter who they are. Politics for them is the sport of princes and, like princes, they are exempt from paying income tax on their agricultural fortunes. So, they play the game of politics, locally and nationally, by the only rules they know are real. What better objective for the political game than personal aggrandizement!
Political life and political parties reflect these sentiments. When President Ishaq turned against him, 170 members of the Punjab Assembly, supposedly the power base of Nawaz Sharif, deserted him en bloc. When the Supreme Court restored his prime ministership, they supported him again.

Although the bureaucrats and army generals did not create this structure, they intensify the fracturing of Pakistan's body politic. This has resulted in numberless political parties, some of the same name, led by their, often hereditary, leaders with no organization, membership, elections, etc. Nor do even the major political parties bother about the election of office-holders, who may be appointed by the chairman or co-chairman of the party. That is the case of the Peoples Party of Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto and her mother are the co- chairpersons of the party.

The new and powerful urban political party of the immigrants from India, Mohajir Qaumi Mahaz, became too powerful and swept the polls in urban Sindh in 1988. The establishment allegedly caused it to split into two. The new one is aptly named: The Genuine Mohajir Qaumi Mahaz. The original one is lying low, with its leader in self-exile in London "to save his life.”

The case of the Pakistan Muslim League, the party of Pakistan's founder, is even more interesting. (See box.) It usually has been the ruling party in Pakistan, except for the Bhutto periods of 1971-1977 and 1988-1990.

When martial law is imposed and all political parties are banned, the activities of their leaders might be reported in the newspapers as follows:

"Chaudhri Sultan Amir, president of the defunct Pakistan Muslim League (Qayyum group), in a statement issued on Human Rights Day, praised the efforts of the Martial Law regime for ensuring for Pakistani citizens full enjoyment of freedom and dignity.”

The generals themselves have reviveal the Muslim League. Both Field Marshal Ayub and General Zia ul-Haq did that. When in 1985, General Zia, after partyless elections, hand-picked Mohammad Khan Junejo as his prime minister, he thought it might be a good idea for his prime minister also to be the president of the Pakistan Muslim League. So he asked its president, the Pir of Pagara, a great land-lord and hereditary spiritual leader of Sindh, to hand the party over to Mr. Junejo. That was done.

In 1988, when Mr. Junejo was dismissed, the Pir of Pagara wanted his Muslim League back. But Junejo and others refused to oblige. The Pir of Pagara finally declared that his Muslim League had been revived and is the real one. Its present name is "Pakistan Muslim League (Functional).”

Now, the Junejo Muslim League has split. The new offshoot is the "Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif)." Nawaz Sharif has launched his campaign for re-election in October as president of his own Pakistan Muslim League. Of course, other Muslim Leagues will oppose him.

It remains to be seen which Muslim League, or combination of Muslim Leagues and other political parties, gets the nod of approval from the army. Currently all political parties see it as the key to power.

Prime Ministers of Pakistan
1. Liaqat Ali Khan Aug. 15, 1947-Oct. 16, 1951 Assassinated
2. Khawaja Nazimuddin Oct. 17, 1951-April 17, 1953 Dismissed
3. Muhammad Ali Bogra April 17, 1953-Aug. 11, 1955 Replaced after
dissolution of
the Constituent
Assembly.

4. Chaudhri Mohammad Ali Aug. 11, 1955-Sept. 12, 1956 Resigned
5. H. S. Suhrawardy Sept. 12, 1956-Oct. 18, 1957 Forced to resign.

6. I. I. Chundrigar Oct. 18, 1957-Dec. 16, 1958 Failed to secure
a majority in the
Assembly.

7. Feroze Khan Noon Dec. 18, 1957-Oct. 7, 1958
Removed.

Martial
law imposed.

Rule by Field Marshal Ayub Khan and Gen. Yahya Khan, October 1958- December 1971
8. Nurul Amin Dec. 7, 1971-Dec. 20, 1971 Removed after loss
of East Pakistan.

9. Z. A. Bhutto Aug. 14, 1973-July 5, 1977 Deposed. Martial
law imposed.

Rule by General Zia ul-Haq, 1977-1988
10. Muhammad Khan Junejo March 23, 1985-May 29, 1988 Dismissed
11. Benazir Bhutto Dec. 2, 1988-Aug. 6, 1990 Dismissed
12. G. M. Jatoi (caretaker) Aug. 6, 1990-Nov. 6, 1990
13. Nawaz Sharif Nov. 6, 1990-April 18, 1993 Dismissed
14. Balakh Sher Mazari April 18, 1993-May 26, 1993 Inoperative
after Supreme
Court's judgment.

15. Nawaz Sharif, restored by the Supreme Court, wins a vote of confidence in the National Assembly, May 27, 1993.

16. Dr. Moeen Qureshi, who has been senior vice president of the World Bank in Washington, DC, sworn in July 18, 1993, as caretaker prime minister to replace Nawaz Sharif, who was "advised" by chief of army staff to resign.

Thirteen Incarnations of the Pakistan Muslim League
1. Pakistan Muslim League
2. Pakistan Jinnah Muslim League
3. Pakistan Muslim League (Khan Abdul Qayyum)
4. Pakistan Muslim League (Muhammad Husain Chattha)
5. Pakistan Muslim League (Convention)
6. Pakistan Muslim League (Council)
7. Pakistan Muslim League (Khairud Din)
8. Pakistan Muslim League (Malik Muhammad Qasim)
9. Pakistan Muslim League (Mir Nabi Bakhsh Zehri)
10. Pakistan Muslim League (Pir Pagara)
11. Pakistan Muslim League (Junejo)
12. Pakistan Muslim League (Functional)
13. Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif)
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Ghaznavi, Masood
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Peacekeeping: Somalia; More at Stake Than Meets the Eye

Barnes, Lucille. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 34.


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Peacekeeping: Somalia; More at Stake Than Meets the Eye
"Like it or not, the U.S. is setting an example in Somalia. Feeding starving people was a fine act, but it did not end the feuding and fighting of the Somalis. To now withdraw because matters are chaotic will set a bad precedent and be seen abroad as more confirmation of a larger withdrawal of the U.S. role in the world.”

Christian Science Monitor editorial, Aug. 12, 1993
The United States did not go into Somalia eagerly. Then-President George Bush waited until after his unsuccessful re-election campaign and then intervened only under intense public pressure. By then up to 500,000 people had died of starvation, another 500,000 had fled Somalia and 600,000 were refugees within the country.

The chaos resulted from the inability of clan-based generals and warlords, who had driven out the country's long-time strong-man, Siad Barre, to agree on a government to replace him. The problem that was causing drought- aggravated starvation through much of Somalia was centered in the capital of Mogadishu. There Mohammed Farah Aidid and another leader from the same Habr Gadir clan were locked in battle, not over control of the country, but only over who would control the city through which the country's supplies flowed.

The victims were not well-fed followers of well-armed clan leaders, but the weaker aggregations of immigrants from other African countries, members of small and powerless clans, and farmers driven off their land by the anarchy.

"Operation Restore Hope”

U.S. Marines landed at Mogadishu airport on the night of Dec. 8, 1992, and U.S. military spotters in civilian clothes set up radio command posts on the fringes of remote airstrips near "feeding camps" operated by international non-governmental organizations to guide in military tranport aircraft bearing tons of food. By January, roads had been opened from the port and food was flowing freely into feeding stations all over the country.

A major decision was whether or not to disarm the rival warlords forcibly. U.S. authorities decided first to seek to reconcile them in hopes of securing their cooperation in rebuilding the national government and such institutions as the police and school system. On Jan. 14 the warlords agreed to meet. By March, all factions had agreed to negotiate a political settlement except a coalition loyal to Aidid. Even Aidid subsequently agreed, but through his radio station and in mass rallies he agitated against the foreign troops in his city.

Aided by long-awaited rains that enabled farmers to plant crops in newly pacified agricultural areas, "Operation Restore Hope" was deemed a success by May, when most refugees had left the feeding centers to return to their homes. On May 24, the U.S. handed over control of operations to the United Nations.

Where there had been 40,000 troops from more than 20 countries in Somalia at the height of "Operation Restore Hope," the number dropped to the present 22,854 under U.N. command, including 4,028 American personnel.

Another 1,269 U.S. quick-reaction troops remained in Somalia under direct U.S. command, and a combat-ready force of U.S. Marines remained on U.S. Seventh Fleet ships. Nevertheless, placing the bulk of the American military personnel under the U.N. commander, Turkish Gen. Cevet Bir, was in itself an experiment.

A Question of Leadership
Since the end of the Cold War the American public has complained that the world expects Americans to take the leading role in international police actions. Yet, at the same time, Americans have been conditioned by assurances from their political leaders that U.S. troops will always serve under American commanders in such actions.

If Americans look for leadership from other nations in fighting international brushfires, U.S. troops must be prepared to serve under commanders from other nations. In Somalia they do, and that's only one aspect of this operation that could become a how-to-do-it or how-not-to-do-it model for the future.

A very high percentage of Middle Eastern troops are serving with U.N. peacekeepers in this former Arab League member state. Among the more than 20,000 U.N. troops are 4,718 from Pakistan, 1,340 from Morocco, 873 from Malaysia, 690 from the United Arab Emirates, 678 from Saudi Arabia, 540 from Egypt, 316 from Turkey, 143 from Tunisia, 108 from Kuwait, 101 from Greece and 25 from Bangladesh. A battalion of Indian troops is en route, and 1,700 troops from three African countries also are on hand.

It was a major ambush on the Pakistani contingent by Aidid's forces in Mogadishu, in which 24 Pakistani troops were killed, that set off the current concern about Somalia. Pakistani troops retaliated harshly against a mob converging on one of their posts, in which they feared were concealed Aidid gunmen.

U.S. helicopter gunships participated in three subsequent retaliatory strikes in which a still disputed number of Aidid's followers were killed. Journalists invited to view the carnage by Aidid's followers were mobbed at the scene, and four foreign photographers were killed.

A six-week death toll since the beginning of July included 26 Pakistanis, 4 Moroccans, 3 Italians, 6 Somali U.N. employees, the 4 journalists, and 4 U.S. soldiers killed Aug. 8 by a mine in Mogadishu. Now, as U.N. efforts increasingly focus on hunting down Aidid, and with the problem of feeding the starving seemingly solved, some political leaders urge that U.N. forces declare victory and leave.

"Time to Reassess"?

"I think it's time to reassess," said Senate Minority leader Bob Dole on an Aug. 8 talk show. From the Democratic side, however, House Speaker Thomas Foley called for a stronger U.S. commitment. "We have a ready response team. We have offshore forces. And I think we need to step up the efforts to find Aidid," Foley said.

Markets in Baidoa and Bardera, the interior "starvation centers" at the time U.S. forces landed, are thriving. Yet, if U.N. forces leave too soon, the country may lapse back into anarchy. Then a promising experiment in humanitarian relief and nation-building would be pronounced a failure. Concluded the New York Times in an August 10 editorial:

"This is one of the most ambitious U.N. ventures yet, the first to put U.S. troops under U.N. command. It would be regrettable if Washington rushed to withdraw American forces after the first fatalities. Collective security can't be built on selective risk. And it would be sad indeed if an innovative peace- keeping mission lapsed back into old-fashioned war.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Barnes, Lucille
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Horn of Africa: U.N. Can Encourage Somali Federation To Create Lasting Government

Fatah, Ali Ahmed. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 36.


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The Horn of Africa: U.N. Can Encourage Somali Federation To Create Lasting Government
Two-and-a-half years after unbridled inter-clan warfare and famine incapacitated Somalia, the Horn of Africa country is back from the brink with a new lease on life. This hopeful development is due in large measure to the efforts of the U.S. led multinational Unified Task Force (UNITAF). The United States' decision in December 1992 to intervene in the Somali civil war was the turning point in arresting a large-scale human tragedy.

As the 30,000 troops deployed in the aptly named "Operation Restore Hope" put an end to open warfare between the clan factions, relief workers were freed to help the victims of the conflict. In January 1993, the U.N. invited the factions to attend a series of conferences on national reconciliation. By March, 11 of 15 factions agreed to pursue a negotiated political settlement preceded by a countrywide cease-fire. Only a four-faction coalition loyal to warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid balked, although in the end they too agreed to participate.

Having stabilized the "famine zone" regions, UNITAF turned command and control of those areas over to U.N. peacekeeping forces, known as UNOSOM II, in May. For its part, UNOSOM II has come to the painful realization that without the cooperation of the armed factions, there will be no peace to be kept by the "blue helmets.”

To ensure peace, the U.N. declared its intention to disarm all of the factions in the country--a decidedly risky task to undertake. A case in point is the June 5 ambush of U.N. peacekeepers in Mogadishu in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by Aidid's militia. Still, UNOSOM II can achieve operational success if it shows resolve. The overwhelming majority of Somalis support its basic mission: to help restore civil society in the country.

If, on the other hand, the U.N. vacillates in pursuit of this goal it will not only fail disastrously, but will also set back the cause of peace in Somalia for a long time to come. In addition to the losing warlords in the south, secessionist elements in the north may be emboldened to challenge UNOSOM II's mandate to restore peace.

With the total collapse of civil society after three decades of experimentation with self-government, Somalia's nationalistic euphoria has all but faded. Many Somalis blame the shaky basis on which the country was founded. Since the 1960s, politicians have paid lip-service to democracy while practicing an insidious form of clanism in managing the affairs of the nation.

If the U.N. vacillates, it will fail disastrously.

Consequently, few Somalis have taken seriously the concept of nationality itself, leading some to ask, "Is the modern concept of nationhood universally applicable to different peoples and communities across the globe?" They argue that a common language, culture, etc. may be desirable in forging a nationality, but that in Somalia these attributes have not, in them-selves, been sufficient to mold a sense of nationhood. Perhaps the Somali-speaking clans have not gained the depth and breadth of experiences necessary for developing a common, overriding national ideology. That is why the history of the Somali people remains what it has been for hundreds of years, the story of the egalitarian clans.

The bases of Somali national consciousness date back to the 15th century, when Imam Ahmad Gurey organized Somalis across clan lines to check the Abyssinian Empire's encroachments into Somali settlements. Two similar movements were organized in this century, the first being Sayyid Muhammad Abdallah Hassan's 20-year anticolonial struggle beginning in 1900, and the second the Somali Youth League's independence campaign following the Second World War. None of these movements, however, sought to supplant the institution of the clan or to loosen its grip on the allegiance of Somalis as individuals and as communities. The aftermath of independence in 1960 saw the worsening of inter-clan relations as state institutions became fiefdoms for sets of clans, with dizzying shifts of alliances.

The current U.N.-brokered "Transitional National Council" mechanism is a necessary stopgap measure. What the country needs, though, are far-reaching political reforms in order for democracy to take root. This requires bold steps. Of all the difficult options Somalis must consider, there are basically two alternatives from which they can select to reconstitute an effective central government:

1) A non-sectarian, non-partisan group of Somali intellectuals should investigate the past experiences which nearly doomed Somalia as a nation-state. Their analyses should be dispassionate and thorough, using a national perspective rather than the viewpoint of any single clan. The group should outline a democratic system of national government with checks and balances that affirms Islamic values. In short, a nation of laws that expresses Somali cultural values should be constructed on the ashes of the old, failed body politic.

2) Representatives of the major clan families should assemble to reorganize the country into a federal system of government. The current 18 regions should be reduced to fewer than half that number. The borders of the new semi-autonomous provinces should be redrawn along clan-family boundaries. Each province must be organized according to recognized democratic principles in accordance with Islamic values. The provinces should then jointly draft the articles of federation delineating the rights and responsibilities to be shared at the national level.

Widespread Support for Federation
The first option is currently attracting more international attention. Considering the cultural milieu in Somalia, though, the second option has a much better chance of success, since the federalist idea enjoys widespread support among Somalis irrespective of clan. This consensus has evolved over three decades of shared experience in which governmental prerogatives were abused at every level. Somalis have learned to distrust those who would use nationalism as a ploy to gain advantage in clan power-politics. At the provincial and local levels such tactics are usually constrained by the time- tested traditions of the respective clans.

In trying to solve Somalia's political problems, the U.N. should resist the temptation to anoint unelected "Somali leaders." Instead, it should consult with and support the representatives chosen from the provinces. It is from this group that leaders at the national level should emerge. By recognizing the authentic leaders, the U.S. and the U.N. will help empower them as they chart a future that is still grounded in traditional Somali values.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Fatah, Ali Ahmed
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: A Kashmir View; the Issue Is Supression of Self-Determination

Khan, Rafique A. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 38.


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: A Kashmiri View; The Issue is Suppression of Self-Determination
I was on an airplane, returning after a school vacation to my home in Kashmir, when I noticed two Americans asking the flight attendant for food. During the next leg of my journey, on a bus through the hot, dusty Himalayan foothills, I noticed that the same two Americans would not spend a nickel to buy a bottled drink. At the end of the bus trip, however, the Americans each took a two-seat foot-pedaled bicycle rickshaw to travel from the bus depot to the train station. They had scrimped and saved all day. Yet, to ease the rickshaw puller's burden, they hired two rickshaws when only one was necessary.

I am now an American citizen myself and see every day among my fellow Americans the same kind of pure goodness demonstrated by the two American Peace Corps volunteers I met in Kashmir in 1955. But American foreign policy has not always reflected such selflessness.

I remember around that time reading The Ugly American, a book which chronicled the doings of an American politician who, after losing an election at home, was appointed ambassador to a Third World country. That was fiction. President Clinton's probable nomination of defeated Brooklyn Congressman Stephen Solarz of Rubbergate fame as our ambassador to India is real.

Solarz, who wants to increase U.S. trade with India, is indebted to the Indian lobby, as well as to the Israel lobby, both of which have contributed handsomely to his election campaigns. In the eyes of Solarz, India can do no wrong.

U.S. foreign-policy makers like Solarz follow the Kissinger doctrine of nurturing, not solving, the Third World disputes that keep people who seek freedom and democracy poor and suppressed. To keep the support of the American public now that the communist empire is gone, such members of the political/ military establishment are creating a new bogeyman they call Islamic fundamentalism.

Indian rulers, inheritors of the British Empire, eagerly dance to this tune. They portray the centuries-old struggle for self-determination, democracy and freedom from autocratic rule by the Kashmiri people, most of whom are Muslims, as a religious separatist movement.

Tucked into the Himalayas, and sharing borders with Pakistan, India and China, Kashmir, known as "the Switzerland of Asia," is home to some eight million people. In 1930 they began their struggle for freedom from the double yoke of feudal rule under a maharaja, and colonial rule under Britain.

In 1947, the British withdrew from India after partitioning it into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India. Although the majority of his subjects were Muslim, the Hindu maharaja chose to link Kashmir to India. Since 1947 the two countries have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir, and the third over the secession from Pakistan of East Bengal, now the independent nation of Bangladesh.

Pakistan now controls one third of the land area of Kashmir, and India occupies the rest, including the high, cool and scenic Vale of Kashmir, a favorite summer resort for British colonial administrators and subsequently a popular tourist attraction.

The dispute over Kashmir was brought to the United Nations by India in 1948. All parties initially agreed to let Kashmiris exercise their right of self-determination through a U.N. sponsored plebiscite. An American World War II hero, Adm. Chester Nimitz, was appointed as plebiscite administrator.

Forty-five years later, the plebiscite pledge remains un-fulfilled. Instead, India maintains its hold on Kashmir in total disregard of the international agreement and Kashmiri desires for self-determination.

India, which portrays itself as the world's largest democracy, does not want the world to know about this suppression. The international press and human rights advocates are forbidden to enter Kashmir. In the Vale of Kashmir, Indian troops keep the three million Kashmiris in concentration camp-like conditions. During the last three years, scores of mutilated bodies of Kashmiri youth have been recovered daily from the roads and rivers of Kashmir, victims of Indian torture in Indian jails.

In response to the pleas of the Kashmiri-American community and human rights advocates, Bush administration officials cited the Simla Agreement, signed by India and Pakistan after their third war, as a panacea for resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The accord calls for settlement of the dispute by mutual negotiations, and accepts without prejudice the respective positions of the two countries on Kashmir. Pakistan wants Kashmir because most Kashmiris are Muslims. India wants Kashmir as a symbol of its secularism. No one asks what the Kashmiris want.

For a Kashmiri, the dispute is not a territorial matter between India and Pakistan which can be resolved by an agreement to which no Kashmiri is a party. The issue for Kashmiris is the fundamental human right of self-determination.

The U.N.-pledged plebiscite never took place in Kashmir because, after Pakistan signed a defense pact with the United States in the 1950s, and India was increasingly seen as a protιgι of the Soviet Union, Kashmir became a pawn in the superpower rivalry. Now that the Cold War is over, it seems the old India hands in Washington are more interested in exploring the potential for U.S.-India trade than making it possible for Kashmiris to determine their own future. The Clinton administration may therefore help India maintain its present boundaries, and turn a blind eye to human rights violations in favor of economic considerations.

Kashmiris have for four decades relied on American understanding of their aspirations. By keeping to the sidelines now, however, the U.S. government is making it possible for radical militants to take over the leadership in Kashmir. In the absence of a resolution for the Kashmir conflict, militancy will take root there. Ironically, continued instability in the region would, in the long run, hurt the commercial interests of the free world.

Be that as it may, our country's foreign policy should not be based on short-range economic goals but on the universal values of human rights. The U.S. government should impress upon the government of India, by sanctions if necessary, that India must stop its brutal human rights violations in Kashmir. To resolve the Kashmir conflict once and for all, both India and Pakistan must demilitarize Kashmir and provide the Kashmiri people with an opportunity for self-determination.

Speaking on foreign policy as a presidential candidate, Bill Clinton said, "We need to be a force for freedom and democracy. We can't impose it, but we must nourish it." Amen.

Kashmiris seek both freedom and democracy. So far they have had neither, although the Cold War that led to the India-Pakistan stalemate over their country has ended. The warm feelings among Kashmiris about Americans are dwindling. Peace Corps volunteers no longer vacation in Kashmir. But the nomination of a foreign-lobby-backed ex-congressman as ambassador to India means that the "ugly American" may still be around.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Khan, Rafique A
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: A Pakistani View; No Security in the Subcontinent Without a Solution in Kashmir

Ali, Iftikhar. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 39.


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: A Pakistani View; No Security in the Subcontinent Without a Solution in Kashmir
Why should the United States government take any interest in Kashmir where, seemingly, there are no vital U.S. interests? Below are some of the many reasons for the U.S. to play an active and meaningful role in the disputed state.

a) The United States, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, is the only major power left on the world scene. As such, it has both a stake in and a responsibility for the maintenance of peace and stability throughout the world, including South Asia. The world community now acknowledges that, without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute, there can be no lasting or durable peace in that part of the world.

b) It is shortsighted and dangerous to leave the solution in the hands of India as a "regional power" which has the ability to contain or settle the "irritant" that is Kashmir. It is India that bears major responsibility for the tragic situation that has prevailed in Kashmir since the British departure in 1947.

India's present militaristic policy against the beleaguered people of the valley cannot lead to a resolution of the conflict. Kashmir is an international issue and is recognized as such by the United Nations. The United States needs to recognize this and act accordingly. Not only will an initiative along these lines establish its credibility in the Third World, but it will also strengthen the United Nations.

c) A subcontinent at peace is in the interest of the United States because its vast population can form a dynamic market for U.S. goods and services. However, lasting peace can only be achieved if the basic Kashmir question is solved equitably and in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people. This could be done under U.N. auspices on the basis of the 1948 and 1949 Security Council resolutions that call for the exercise of self- determination by the people of Kashmir.

d) Both India and Pakistan are now believed to have nuclear capability. In a future conflict, the use of those awesome weapons of death and destruction cannot be ruled out. It is necessary, therefore, to ensure that there are no more military conflicts between the two great South Asian neighbors.

Kashmir is the heart of the matter, and if the Kashmir dispute is solved in a mutually acceptable manner, the inherent threat of the present nuclear standoff will recede. There are no other outstanding disputes between the two countries. This is just another reason the U.S., which seeks to make the world safe from the threat of nuclear conflict, should have an urgent interest in helping settle the Kashmir dispute.

e) Adding to the disappointment of Muslims around the world at American reluctance to take decisive action in Bosnia after having promised to do so, a negligent U.S. attitude toward atrocities being committed against Kashmiri Muslims leads Muslims everywhere to assume that Washington cares little about human rights violations when the victims are Muslims. Is it in the American national interest that such impressions take root? There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and a large and growing U.S. Muslim population. How wise is it to ignore its feelings and sensibilities?

f) The United States is a country founded on idealism, and Americans hold freedom to be their most precious possession. Is it not consistent with America's history, tradition and good name in the world to take a principled position by helping the Kashmiris exercise the right of self-determination?

g) The U.S. understandably is concerned with the rise of terrorism and of what it calls "Islamic fundamentalism. "In fact, the fundamentals of Islam include peace, social justice, freedom and democracy.

It is oppression of the Muslim masses, and denial of the democratic process by dictatorial regimes or the foreign occupation of Muslim lands, that is motivating some Muslims to respond in a violent manner. Kashmiri Muslims find themselves in such a predicament.

By helping to end the conflict in Kashmir, the U.S. will have taken a major step toward the elimination of violence in that important part of the world. The message will go to other groups and communities that conflicts can be solved through goodwill and negotiation. Will that not further U.S. policy objectives?

In his book Seize the Moment, former President Richard Nixon wrote: "In order to avoid a potential nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, we should urge New Delhi to end the massive violations of human rights by its security forces in the province and to negotiate an autonomy agreement with the Kashmiri leaders.”

As Kashmiris seek to rid themselves of New Delhi's rule, the situation in Kashmir is almost out of India's control. It is the United States that should seize the moment and resolve the dispute between two of the world's most populous countries that threatens international peace and security.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Ali, Iftikhar
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: An Indian View; Outside Intervention is The Problem

Menon, N C. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 39.


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Should the U.S. Play a Role in Settling the Kashmir Dispute? Three Views: An Indian View; Outside Intervention is The Problem
The issue is not what the U.S. role should be, but whether the U.S. should have a role in Kashmir at all. Before we consider that question, however, it will be useful to lay out a few facts that are not adequately known.

Kashmir would never have become such a long-lasting problem had it not been for the intervention of Pakistan. A parallel is Nagaland in India's northeast, where China once used to do just what Pakistan currently is doing in Kashmir: training and arming rebels. Once the Chinese support ended, the problem also evaporated. Nagaland is now an integral state of India, with elected governments and all the other appurtenances of democracy, including its warts.

Pakistan's rationale in trying to take over Kashmir has been that it is a "Muslim state" that acceded to "Hindu" India because it had a Hindu ruler at the time of the British partition. Thus, soon after the two nations gained independence from British rule, Pakistan tried to overrun Kashmir, first with its own troops disguised as tribesmen, and subsequently with regular army units.

The alarmed maharaja of Kashmir appealed to India for help and, as an inducement, acceded to India. Indian troops went in and pushed back the raiders from the Kashmir Valley. When the fighting ended under a U.N.-mandated cease- fire, India held 45.6 percent of the total territory of 222,236 sq. km. and Pakistan continued to occupy 35 percent. China holds onto the 17 percent that it gobbled up during the 1962 fighting with India. China also has 2.3 percent of Kashmir (5,180 sq. km.) granted to it by Pakistan so that the Chinese could build the strategic Aksai Chin road.

The Kashmiri population is 64.2 percent Muslim (most of them in the Kashmir Valley), 34.3 percent Hindu (mostly in Jammu), 1.2 percent Buddhist (mostly in Ladakh), 2.2 percent Sikh and .18 percent others. It was the Muslim majority population that attracted Pakistan, originally in an effort to add to its own territory, and subsequently as a means of making things difficult for its rival, India. The concept of Muslim solidarity as a justification for intervention collapsed with East Pakistan seceding to form independent Bangladesh. India was admittedly the midwife at the birth of the new nation--a fact that Islamabad finds difficult to forgive. Hence the ongoing vengeful tactics of promoting breakaway tendencies in Kashmir.

Much is said about a U.N. resolution suggesting a plebiscite in Kashmir. There indeed was such a resolution. But what seems to have been lost in the shuffle is the fact that the plebiscite was conditioned on the invading Pakistan troops vacating the whole of Kashmiri territory. That clearly has not happened.

Besides, the plebiscite was intended to ascertain whether the people of Kashmir wished to join Pakistan or India. There was no third choice. If a plebiscite were to be held today, the one-third Hindu population, terrorized by the goon squads aided and abetted from across the border, would most certainly vote for India. The rest would be evenly divided between those who opt for Pakistan and others who prefer independence. If Islamabad insists on playing the plebiscite card, it might well find itself hoist on its own petard.

The Bush administration realized that the plebiscite as envisaged in the original U.N. resolution was already water under the bridge. It therefore endorsed the 1972 Simla Agreement, signed by Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, calling for bilateral discussions to resolve the Kashmir dispute, and mandating against internationalization of the issue or interference by outside powers.

Not much has been heard about the Simla Agreement since the Clinton administration took office. The new formulation is that the dispute has to be settled between India and Pakistan, but taking fully into consideration the views of the Kashmiri people. The U.S. leaves open the issue of how the views are to be ascertained: In other words, an expanded plebiscite is not ruled out. As mentioned above, such a referendum is likely to result in a deadlock. The U.S. would be well advised to avoid such a "judgmental" mediatory role which will only further muddy the waters.

Would an independent Kashmir be viable? It is doubtful. The territory does not have any natural resources to speak of and most of its revenue is derived from tourists who are attracted by its Shangri-La-like charms. But the economy of an independent Kashmir cannot be kept afloat on houseboats alone.

At the same time, an independent Kashmir might well look like an attractive proposition to some of the remaining Cold Warriors in the U.S. administration. After all, it will cost comparatively little to grubstake an independent Kashmir in return, say, for an airbase in Ladakh, providing a commanding overview of the entire Indian subcontinent, China, and the former Soviet Asian republics.

If the U.S. sincerely wants to play a role in resolving the Kashmir dispute, its best move would be to use its considerable powers of persuasion to halt Pakistani assistance, both official and private, to Kashmiri militants. The crisis will then wither away for lack of sustenance, and with it will end the reports of human rights violations that now bedevil Indo U.S. relations.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Menon, N C
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Middle East and Middle West: The Uss Liberty Makes Waves in Minnesota

Quinlan, C Patrick. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 48.


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Middle East and Middle West: The USS Liberty Makes Waves in Minnesota
It began with a book donation to a senior citizens' center in a small town, which led to a war veterans' memorial park dedicated to the heroes of the USS Liberty. The story continues with an outreach program to other veterans' organizations, a statewide American Legion draft resolution, and a governor's proclamation of USS Liberty memorial day.

The book was Paul Findley's They Dare to Speak Out, and the town is Zimmerman, Minnesota, population about 1,600. The book donor was anonymous, probably one of many who responded to the Washington Report or Council for the National Interest appeals for library donations. The veterans' organization was the Zimmerman American Legion Post, membership now 250.

The Zimmerman nursing home residents aren't able to do a lot of reading, but one of the regular volunteer visitors, Legionaire Stan Wuolle, a retired professional printer, does. He took Paul Findley's book home. After reading in Chapter VI an account of the Israeli government's knowing and deliberate attempt to sink this U.S. Navy vessel, Stan told the story to his American Legion post comrades. He won their agreement to honor the 34 Americans killed on the USS Liberty, as well as the Zimmerman dead of four American wars, with a memorial park.

The Legionaires of Zimmerman made their decision in June of 1992. Less than four months later, on Oct. 17, Captain William McGonagle, former skipper of the Liberty and Congressional Medal of Honor holder, 11 other USS Liberty survivors, and author Findley were in Zimmerman for the opening of the memorial park, where the names of the 34 Liberty dead are now engraved in granite.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, a display in honor of the USS Liberty was dedicated in Frankenmuth, Michigan in 1991, and the refurbished Grafton, Wisconsin, public library was renamed to honor the Liberty in 1989. But the park was the first such monument in Minnesota. Nevertheless, the event went unreported in Minnesota except in the nearby Elk River weekly.

However, reportage in the December 1992/January 1993 Washington Report on Middle East Affairs has, according to Legionaire Wuolle, "brought us letters with congratulations and memorial park donations from all over--Fairfax, Virginia to Seattle, Washington, and in between.”

Perhaps only Americans who, like the writer, grew up in small towns would understand what followed that October afternoon and evening with Captain McGonagle, the other Liberty veterans, and Paul Findley. Instead of resting on their laurels, Zimmerman Legionaires persuaded Minnesota Gov. Arnie Carlson to declare the annual June 8 anniversary of the attack "USS Liberty Day" in Minnesota.

Nor has the story ended there. Zimmerman Post Commander Wayne Gilbertson and his wife, Therese, past-commanders Dave Austin, Gene Grams and Peggy Moon (yes, a woman commander), and Zimmerman post service officers Stan Wuolle and Reuben Matheson began enlisting other Minnesota veterans' organizations. With a videofilm on the Liberty story, and testimony from Minnesota Liberty survivors Gene Kirk, who lives in nearby Albertville, and Glen Oliphant from the more distant White Bear Lake, the Legionaires began calling on neighboring Legion posts and other veterans organizations, asking for support for the USS Liberty Association.

"It was hard for them to believe the story we told," Stan Wuolle said. But every one of 20 Legion and two Veterans of Foreign Wars posts visited pledged $100 each to the USS Liberty Association. The campaign continues.

Taking Up the Liberty Cause
A columnist in the local press has taken up the USS Liberty cause. The area library now has a subscription to the Washington Report, and in central Minnesota the Middle East is no longer a faraway, exotic area. The Zimmerman Legion Club, a popular watering hole and community meeting center, displays a large photograph of the USS Liberty limping its way to port after the attack. The photograph is signed by Captain McGonagle, the only Congressional Medal of Honor winner in U.S. history who did not receive his medal in the White House.

The Legionaires' next step was to be a state Legion resolution recognizing the USS Liberty crew. Aware of the political firestorm aroused by national pro-Israel organizations and slanted reporting in the Milwaukee Journal before the dedication of the USS Liberty library in Grafton, Wisconsin, the Zimmerman Legionaires proposed a resolution referring to "an attack by foreign air and naval forces" rather than an "Israeli" attack on the Liberty. The resolution's operative paragraph named the Zimmerman memorial park as "the official" memorial to the USS Liberty.

Unfortunately, the resolution was tabled on a procedural technicality at the 1993 state convention. The Zimmerman Legionaires have been assured of general agreement by the membership on the substance of the resolution, which makes its passage next year seem likely. Neither the wording of the Zimmerman resolution nor the 1993 postponement reflected Israeli lobby activity, or the more usual misplaced American sense of delicacy in references to Israel.

If passed in 1994, the Minnesota Legion resolution-to-come may be the first American veterans' resolution on the USS Liberty since 1967, the year of the attack. That year, the National American Legion passed a resolution calling for an investigation of the Israeli attack, according to James Ennes, who witnessed the attack as USS Liberty officer of the deck, and whose book, Assault on the Liberty, describes it in detail. Ennes subsequently has ascribed the failure to follow through on the 1967 Legion resolution to pressure from pro-Israel organizations in an article published in the May/June 1984 issue of The Link, a bi-monthly newsletter published in New York City.

What next? Zimmerman is not a tourist destination town, but the memorial park is sited on a major highway to Minnesota's fishing and hunting region. Members of the USS Liberty Association may choose Zimmerman for their next annual meeting. (At their 1991 meeting in Washington, DC, they were honored at a White House Rose Garden reception hosted by then-White House chief of staff John Sununu.)
Stan Wuolle and Reuben Matheson, both of whom are multi-issue activists, have been declared Zimmerman senior men-of-the year. Not surprisingly, more than 40 new members have joined the Zimmerman Legion post, making it the fastest growing post in the state. "Now our younger veterans see the club taking up a real issue," explains Wuolle.

Thinking about America and the Middle East has changed in this part of Minnesota since one man picked up and read a donated book. In the heartland of America, as those of us who live here call it, if not in the lobbyland of Congress, the good ship Liberty still makes waves.

Draft Resolution
Presented to 1993 Minnesota American Legion Convention
Whereas: June 8, 1993 marks the 26th Anniversary of an attack by foreign air and naval forces upon the USS Liberty, a communications and intelligence- gathering ship of the United States: and Whereas: The skill and valor of the Liberty commanding officer, Captain William L. McGonagle, while seriously wounded, inspired the surviving crew, many of whom were also wounded, to repair battle damage and keep the ship afloat: and Whereas: It is now fitting that the American Legion, at this convention, do hereby recognize the 34 men killed and 171 wounded while serving aboard the USS Liberty: and be it Resolved: That the Zimmerman American Legion Memorial Park be designated as the official Memorial to the brave men of the USS Liberty in Minnesota.

Commander Post #560
American Legion
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Stan Wuolle near monument)


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Author Quinlan, C Patrick
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Cairo Communique: U.S. "Double Standard" Renews America-Bashing In Egypt

Napoli, James J. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 49.


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Cairo Communique: U.S. "Double Standard" Renews America-Bashing In Egypt
A tall, young blond man who used to walk almost every day on a street near the Egyptian parliament building in downtown Cairo was regularly greeted with a grin and a wave by the same menadi, one of thousands of people who have created jobs for themselves parking cars.

But this day, the menadi shook his fist at the man and spat on the ground with exaggerated drama. "Ptui," he said. "America no good.”

The young man--who was French, by the way, not American--couldn't account for the sudden change in attitude until he got home and got the news. The United States had bombed an intelligence compound in Baghdad, killing at least eight civilians and injuring a dozen more.

The menadi's anti-American outburst was as good and as literal a reflection of what the man in the street was thinking as there is in a country with no regular public opinion polling.

Seemingly insignificant anecdotal evidence--an American man accosted by a stranger in the street and told to go back where he came from; an American woman put on the defensive in her aerobics class by Egyptians critical of U.S. policy--seem to pick up meaning in the context of anti-American tirades in the media.

In recent months, both government and opposition papers, as well as radio and TV, have been pounding away at U.S. policies on Iraq, Israel and the Palestinians, Bosnia, and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Muslim cleric recently arrested in New York.

Criticism also has been blaring over loudspeakers at mosques on Fridays and through cassette players running surreptitious tapes of vitriolic, anti- Western sermons.

The U.S. media has picked up the vibes--obviously amplified by Islamist threats against American institutions--to depict Egypt in the throes of anti- American hysteria. The coverage has spooked foreign tourists and even professionals with business in Egypt.

It's likely so far, however, that the average Egyptian's antipathy for the United States is only skin-deep--and the current anti-American atmosphere may be short-lived. In fact, the streets are still safe, and a number of conspicuous Fourth of July celebrations, including a large one at the U.S. Embassy, were well attended by foreigners and Egyptians and went off without a hitch.

Like people in most of the world, Egyptians are alternately attracted and repelled by U.S. power, wealth, freedom--and its Hollywood imagery. Their ambivalence could easily take a positive direction under the right circumstances.

But more to the point, Egyptians also are ambivalent about the issues that recently have prompted them to America-bashing. And the media campaigns that have been tightly orchestrated against Egypt's most important Western supporter and ally could play a quite different tune at the drop of a tarboosh.

Issues of Ambivalence
Before the Gulf war, for example, Iraq was represented in the mainstream press as an Egyptian intimate, in keeping with government efforts to strengthen ties with a fellow member of the doomed Arab Cooperation Council. When Iraq invaded Kuwait and humiliated President Mubarak, who had publicly announced the peaceful intentions of Saddam Hussain, the media reversed itself.

Dina Lamey, a young Egyptian researcher now teaching in Saudi Arabia, wrote: "Until Aug. 2, 1990, the Iraqi leader was portrayed as a strong friend of Egypt and protector of the Arabs. But after that, President Hosni Mubarak called Saddam Hussain a liar for assuring him that he would not attack the tiny emirate. The word 'liar' was the cue for the press. It then poured hatred and scorn on the Iraqi ruler, disclosing real and rumored crimes which were ignored when Mubarak and Hussain were good friends.”

Similarly, the coordinated semi-official media attack against the United States wouldn't take place without the right cues from government. The extreme left and Islamist press are of course always anti-American, but the right-of- center opposition daily, El Wafd, had to plan its assault.

Gamal Badawi, editor of El Wafd, told the Washington Report that leaders of the Wafd Party meet every week to determine the editorial direction for the paper, and the party line suffuses everything in the paper--news as well as comment.

The Egyptian government had to disassociate itself from the June 26 attack on the Iraqi intelligence compound if for no other reason than to maintain its pan-Arab credentials. The outpouring of opposition to the U.S. action was also inspired by genuine abhorrence for the loss of innocent lives in what appeared to have been a reckless, vindictive and unwarranted act. To please the Kuwaitis, wrote the slavishly pro-government columnist Samir Ragab, "the Iraqi people, rather than Saddam Hussain, may continue receiving strikes from time to time.”

Egyptians generally dislike the Iraqi regime, which they know very well. Millions of Egyptians have lived and worked in Iraq; many laborers report being abused and some have been killed there. The most commonly heard question during and just after the Gulf war, which Egypt supported, was, "Why didn't the United States kill Saddam?" If the Tomahawk missiles had managed to accomplish that, public opinion would have taken another turn.

On the whole, the commentary has focused not on the attack, but on the inconsistency between U.S. policy that sternly punishes an Arab regime for every alleged offense, while routinely ignoring flagrant violations of international law by the Serbians and particularly by the Israelis in dealing with the Palestinians.

But, again, Egyptians are ambivalent. Despite the official pro- Palestinian rhetoric, Palestinians are treated badly by policy and passport officials here, and many Egyptians consider Palestinians a troublesome and ungrateful lot.

Akhbar Al-Yom columnist and editor Said Sonbol told the Washington Report earlier this year that Egyptians would naturally sympathize with the nearly 400 Palestinian expellees in southern Lebanon and with the victims of the intifada "because they are Muslim." But he repeated a common complaint among Egyptians that "we sacrificed a lot for the Palestinian cause. We lost a lot of money we could have used to develop our own country.”

But of all the issues that have drawn recent anti-American attacks, the most puzzling is the case of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman. The fumbling of the U.S. Justice Department in handling the case was greeted with mockery, derision and anger from just about every quarter. The sheikh, whose followers have been linked to New York's World Trade Center bombing, surrendered to U.S. officials on July 2.

Critics can't decide whether the sheikh is the innocent victim of persecution by an American legal system swept up by anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States; whether he is a no-account whose importance has been artificially blown out of all proportion by an intemperate and ill-informed American media; whether he is a great spiritual leader being crushed to prevent his turning into another Ayatollah Khomeini; whether he is the creation--now turned uncontrollable monster--of the United States when he was useful in the fight against the Soviets; or whether he is a crackpot or CIA agent.

Reflecting the Egyptian government's confusion, the critics can't decide whether Egypt's interests are best served if he is extradited to face trial at home for inciting violence; if he is set free in the United States and kept under close watch; if he is sent off to Sudan or Iran; if he is slapped in an American slammer or allowed to continue his preaching.

The only thing that everyone seems to be sure of is that the United States is up to no good, and ought to be attacked and derided for it--whatever it is.

As one Egyptian observed, "The government doesn't know what to do about the sheikh, so the anti-Americanism helps divert the public from its own confusion. I'm just worried about the long-term effects of all these media attacks. If it doesn't stop at some point soon, it will affect average Egyptians, and it will be too late to reverse.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Napoli, James J
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Women's Rights an Affair of State for Tunisia

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 50.


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Special Report: Women's Rights an Affair of State for Tunisia
The total equality of women and men in civil rights, education and employment is a legal reality that affects all aspects of life in Tunisia, and Dr. Nebiha Gueddana, secretary of state to the prime minister in charge of women's and family affairs, helps to keep enforcing it at the top of her government's list of priorities.

She is proud but not surprised that Tunisia's legislation puts the country in the forefront of the struggle for women's rights in the Arab world. Among Islamic countries, she acknowledges a Tunisian debt in the field only to Turkey, where the late President Kemal Ataturk adopted a civil code mandating equality of the sexes in the course of forcibly converting his country to a democratic secular state in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mrs. Gueddana's present concerns, however, do not center on the rights already guaranteed by Tunisian law, but rather on encouraging women to seize the opportunities mandated not only in the professions and industry, but in government and politics as well.

An Early Reformer
The roots of Tunisia's pioneering role in women's affairs reach back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was then that a modernizing Islamic reformer, Tahar Haddad, a scholar of Tunisia's Great Mosque of the Zitouna, called for freeing women from all of their traditional bonds. In a book entitled Our Women in the Shari'a and Society, published in 1930, he advocated formal education for women and maintained that over many years Islam had been distorted and misinterpreted to such an extent that women no longer were "aware of their duties in life and the legitimate advantages they could expect.”

In the name of Islam, Tahar Haddad denounced such abuses against women as "repudiation," whereby a husband could divorce his wife without grounds or explanation, sending her back to her family or leaving her for another wife. Refuting assertions that such conduct is permissible for Muslims, the reformer declared:

"Islam is innocent of the oft-made accusations that it is an obstacle in the way of progress. Rather it is the religion of progress par excellence, an endless source of progress. Our decadence is the consequence of the chimera with which we have filled our minds and the scandalous, paralyzing customs within which we have locked ourselves.”

Building upon the positive atmosphere created by Tahar Haddad's writing, Tunisian women advanced their own cause significantly by playing active roles in their country's struggle for independence, which broke into the open in 1938 when leaders of the Destour party, and women who joined in a party demonstration, were arrested. On the eve of World War II, when Tunisians informally suspended their agitation for independence from France in order to support the allied cause, members of one group of women were arrested and jailed for 15 days for unfurling the party's banner in the presence of the visiting French president.

In 1950, as post-war agitation for independence resumed, the Neo-Destour party founded its first official women's section. A large number of women members were arrested in subsequent demonstrations that preceded French withdrawal and the attainment of Tunisia's independence on March 20, 1956. One woman who was prominent in the women's movement then and who remained so until her recent death at age 87 was Mrs. Bchira Ben Mrad, who translated Tahar Haddad's teachings into action. As a result of local practices, the prominent role of women in the new nation's politics, and--perhaps most of all--the remarkable foresight demonstrated by Habib Bourguiba, leader of the Neo-Destour Party and Tunisia's first president, women benefitted almost immediately from the country's independence.

Having negotiated that independence almost bloodlessly, less than five months later President Bourguiba, in a speech on Aug. 13, 1956, paid special tribute to the role of women in the independence struggle and issued a Code of Personal Status (CPS) to "remove all injustices" and promulgate "laws rehabilitating women and conferring upon them their full rights.”

From that time on, polygamy became a crime punishable by a fine and imprisonment, a unique development in the Arab world, but one patterned upon a similar prohibition previously adopted by Turkey. That and other reforms incorporated in the CPS were based upon the Islamic practice of ijtihad, making legal judgments reached by consensus by applying the underlying principles of Islamic jurisprudence to changing modern conditions.

Other reforms incorporated in the 1956 CPS abolished the right of a father to force his daughter to marry against her will. Now marriage in Tunisia can only take place with the consent of both parties to the marriage. The code also set the legal age for marriage of a man at 20, and for a woman at 17, with marriage below those ages permitted only with the consent of both parents and the decision of a judge. Also abolished was unilateral repudiation, the custom mentioned above whereby a husband could simply terminate his marriage without explanation.

Now in Tunisia either a husband or a wife can initiate divorce proceedings. A divorce can be granted only by a judge who has exhausted all efforts to reconcile the two parties. Women also may be granted a financial settlement under the law, and the government has set up a fund to pay the divorced husband's obligations to his former wife if he fails to do so himself. Also abolished was the custom of awarding custody of children from the age of seven in the case of boys and nine in the case of girls automatically to the father. Custody arrangements now are worked out on a case-by-case basis by the court as a part of the civil divorce procedure.

Similarly, where previously widows did not automatically retain custody of their children, the CPS provides that a surviving parent, regardless of sex, remains the principal guardian of minor children. Inheritance laws, too, were overhauled to improve protection of the rights of women.

Tunisian law also protects the right of a woman to decide whether or not to practice birth control, and whether or not to have an abortion. "The right to decide whether to give life and decide the number of children she would like to have is the essential element in woman's emancipation," says Nebiha Gueddana, who was a Sorbonne-educated medical doctor before entering government service.

The fact that Tunisian families are exercising their legally protected right to choose is manifested by the reduction in the size of the average Tunisian family from eight persons (including the parents) at mid-century to 4.5 persons at present. This means Tunisia has virtually stabilized its population growth, another pioneering development in the Arab world.

The change from tradition to the Code of Personal Status has shattered some other stereotypes. Formerly a woman was treated by the law as a minor until two years after her marriage. Now, under Tunisian law, men and women alike gain full adult rights at age 20. After that, men and women have exactly the same rights to vote, enter into contracts and buy and sell property and goods.

Penal law also applies equally to men and women. The penal code, as amended on March 8, 1968, stipulates that adultery is a crime and lays down equal sanctions for a wife or husband judged guilty of adultery. These are up to five years' imprisonment and a fine of 500 Tunisian dinars, roughly equivalent to U.S. $500.

Penalties for rape also have become increasingly severe. A March 1985 law allows the death penalty in cases of rape where violence and armed threat are used, and where the victim is under 10 years old. The penalty for all other kinds of rape is imprisonment at hard labor.

Another inequity was ended very recently when Tunisian women married to foreigners were granted permission to pass on Tunisian nationality to their children, just as can Tunisian men.

In the workplace, women also can serve in any government, political or party capacity, and are guaranteed the same rights to work as men. At present, Dr. Gueddana is concentrating her efforts in this field.

She points out that women already are serving in all professions and industries, even in some jobs traditionally reserved for men such as airline pilots, judgeships, and uniformed police and military positions. Although women now occupy some 28 percent of civil service positions, the secretary of state for women's and family affairs would like to see more women in public office. She feels that only when women hold a significant share of political power will everyone feel certain that the progress of Tunisian women is irreversible.

At present, fewer than five percent of members of the national Chamber of Deputies are women. On the municipal councils, however, which are training grounds for future national parliament members, participation of women had risen from less than 2 percent in 1959 to some 14 percent in 1990.

In Tunisia and, in fact, throughout the Arab world, a high percentage of medical doctors are women, like Dr. Gueddana, a pediatrician. Her 1981 medical dissertation at the University of Paris was on The Immune System of the Underweight Newborn. Subsequently she earned her certificate of specialization in pediatrics from the Universitι Renι Descartes in Paris and an assistanceship diploma from the University of Tunis Medical School.

While practicing medicine at women's care centers in working-class neighborhoods in Tunis, she continued her research and writing. Her published study on The Tunisian Adolescent, Health and Environment earned an award from the Paris-based International Children's Center. Another publication in French, Un Enfant et Deux Tunisies, analyzing causes of infant mortality in Tunisia, won an award from the Maghreb Societies of Medicine and Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's award for medicine in July 1990.

Although she is the mother of two boys, now aged 17 and 14, and a girl, aged 10, her husband, also a medical doctor whom she met at the University of Tunis, always has supported her increasing role in women's organizations and in the Democratic Constitutional Rally, Tunisia's incumbent political party. Initially she served as secretary of state to the minister of social affairs from 1989 to 1991, and then as secretary of state to the minister of social affairs in charge of social welfare from 1991 to 1992. Her present appointment was made by President Ben Ali in August 1992, emphasizing his own strong personal dedication to women's rights.

Dr. Gueddana devotes much of her time to strengthening Tunisian women's organizations, which have grown from one, the Girl Scouts, in 1947, to a network of diverse women's groups capable of wielding real political power. In her determination to further ensure the irreversibility of women's gains in Tunisia, she is completely in tune with the president.

Not long after assuming office he stated on March 31, 1989: "On more than one occasion, we have reaffirmed our commitment, and the commitment of the government, to defending women's rights and gains. We will devote ourselves to firmly entrenching the latter and to sanctioning them. Better still, we will work to expand them in order to guarantee women an effective role in our struggle for progress.”

Since then, Secretary of State Gueddana points out, the president has matched his words with deeds. Today, in her opinion, the remarkable combination of laws and social achievements that has made Tunisia a model of true equality for all citizens constitutes a strong and irreversible foundation for Tunisia's continued economic, social and political evolution.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Nebiha Gueddana)


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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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United Nations Report: U.S. and Israel Seek to Forestall General Assembly Condemnation

Williams, Ian. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 52.


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United Nations Report: U.S. and Israel Seek to Forestall General Assembly Condemnation
As readers open this issue of the Washington Report, the United Nations General Assembly will be opening its 48th session in New York. Many of the resolutions will be the old and predictable ones, but if the Clinton administration has its way, there will be fewer resolutions concerning Israel. The American and Israeli missions to the U.N. have drawn up a joint list of issues upon which they hope to defer discussion or block General Assembly resolutions in this session. On the list are Israeli nuclear weapons, the intifada, the Golan Heights, relations between Israel and South Africa, and Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and of Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories.

It is likely that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's declared intention of making a quarter of a million Lebanese and Palestinians quit their homes during the recent attack on south Lebanon also will be placed on the U.S.-Israeli list for non-discussion in the General Assembly. But, then, it was not discussed in the Security Council either.

The only resolution passed that was remotely relevant to Lebanon was to renew the mandate for the UNIFIL peacekeeping forces. Lebanon asked for a Security Council meeting to discuss the Israeli attack, but then backed off under pressure from the U.S. As U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright told the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in July, the U.S. would "continue to stand by Israel.”

So, instead of condemning a clear breach of international law, the Security Council simply issued a presidential statement, attached to the UNIFIL renewal, which asserted that "any state shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations." Partially redeeming the U.N.'s reputation, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali himself named the perpetrator when he condemned the "incessant Israeli attacks despite previous appeals for restraint" and insisted that the "policy of forcing people to abandon their homes must be stopped forthwith.”

The Washington Report spoke to Lebanese Ambassador to the U.N. Dr. Khalil Makkawi about the tragic events and found him at least as forthright as the secretary-general. Ambassador Makkawi explained that he had suspended his call for a Security Council meeting on instructions from Beirut, "because we knew from past experience that it is one thing to ask for a council meeting, and another thing to come out with a resolution or a statement from it. So we thought from the good offices of certain major powers we could get a result.”

However, he still thinks that the Israeli attack on his small country was indeed a U.N. responsibility. Comparing the assault with the 1982 invasion, he said, "It is unbelievable, the audacity of the Israeli prime minister telling our people to leave, threatening otherwise that they might be killed. In effect, he executed a scorched-earth policy.”

He also put the lack of an Arab League resolution in context. "You know the Americans always, when you bring any issue concerning Israel to the Security Council, object on the pretext that this will hinder or obstruct the peace process--which is not true," he complained. "They have done it many times, but it has increased Israel's appetite for more aggression. On the contrary, if the Security Council were to pronounce itself in the strongest manner against the behavior of Israel it might make Israel think twice before embarking on such steps.”

Turning from American evasions to Israeli invasions, the Lebanese envoy was scathing. "It has been proven futile, counterproductive and does not help the peace process. They pretend that they were waging this war on Hezbollah, when the facts prove that this was war on Lebanon and the civilian population. This will strengthen Hezbollah by putting the whole people on its side against Israel.”

Makkawi also pointed out that "Hezbollah was not attacking Israel proper. Just like the Europeans during the Nazi occupation, Lebanese have the right to resist occupation. The Israeli soldiers who were killed when this started were killed on Lebanese national soil. What are they doing here? They are occupiers! So what should they expect?

"It was only after the Israelis began the onslaught that the Hezbollah began the Katyusha raids on Israel itself. The Israelis have created this security zone, they claim, to secure their northern borders. For the last 15 years, it has not secured those borders at all, and it is the source of more violence and attacks against them. The only thing for Israel to do is get out of Lebanon and allow the Lebanese army to go in with UNIFIL to take over the area.”

The Lebanese envoy now is coordinating the U.N. end of the massive relief and rehabilitation process to restore the 70 villages ruined by the Israeli onslaught and rehouse the quarter of a million expellees. He took time out, however, to remind the Washington Report that "There is, of course, already a Security Council Resolution which covers the situation--UNSC 425 calls upon Israel to leave Lebanon.”

It's just one of many allegedly "mandatory" U.N. Security Council resolutions Israel continues to ignore. Resolution 799, passed nine months ago, called for the "immediate return" of the 400 Palestinian expellees from Lebanon, but most of them are still there. In August, Middle East Watch issued a statement pointing out that their situation was unlikely to be improved by the Israeli attack on Lebanon. It is good to know someone still remembers them six months after Warren Christopher declared their predicament settled.

Meanwhile, Back in Bosnia . . .

In Sarajevo, the Bosnians doubtless share with the Arabs a feeling that Security Council resolutions have been somewhat devalued. Last October, the Security Council passed Resolution 781 banning all military flights over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Serbs flew on. In November, Resolution 786 reaffirmed the ban. By March, the Security Council restored its wounded dignity by passing 816, which provided for NATO planes to shoot down offending aircraft.

Serbian warlord Ratko Mladic took this so seriously that he used a helicopter to fly to meetings with U.N. staff, while in August helicopters transported his troops for a successful assault, in violation of a U.N.- brokered cease-fire, on Bosnian positions overlooking Sarajevo. To make sure the assault was successful, Serb helicopter gunships apparently first softened up the defenders with wire-guided missiles fired into Bosnian trenches from above. Even before that air-borne attack by the Serbs at the end of July, the secretary-general reported to the Security Council that there had been 732 violations of the no-fly zone over Bosnia, and that the U.N./NATO air forces had not shot at or in any way interfered with a single one.

British newspapers reported than an RAF pilot was refused permission to intercept one such intruding aircraft when he asked. This, of course, was on a par with U.N.-declared safe havens where the U.N. role was to count the shells landing on the "protected" people, but under no circumstances fire back.

After the months of Bosnian agony, it may take a massive outbreak of amnesia for the world ever again to give credibility to the United Nations as an effective arbiter of world affairs. But perhaps this is unfair. The much- maligned General Assembly, which includes all member nations and where resolutions cannot be vetoed (but also are not binding on U.N. members), has consistently supported the Palestinians and the Bosnians. In fact, the Assembly passed a resolution calling for the ending of the arms embargo on Bosnia at the end of last year.

Up until now, and the U.S.-Israeli "no discussion" list, it was only in the Security Council that condemnation resolutions, and sanctions for non- compliance, were thwarted. There action has been stymied by a combination of European intransigence and American indolence in the case of Bosnia, and U.S. intransigence and European indolence in the case of Israeli assaults on their Arab neighbors.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Khalil Makkawi)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Williams, Ian
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Subcontinent: Reorienting Toward U.S. Not the Only Solution for India's Problems

Ali, M M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 53.


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The Subcontinent: Reorienting Toward U.S. Not the Only Solution for India's Problems
Compared to the political carnival being played out in neighboring Pakistan, the changing socio-political environment in India appears relatively rational. However, both images are distorted. Not everything is wrong in one place and not everything is right in the other.

India constitutes a weight if not a force on the face of the earth. Its sheer mass must be factored into the blueprints of the new world order. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the consequent strengthening of China both provide India a bolder image, which in turn is blurred by the country's overwhelming poverty.

Despite its relatively low population growth rate among Third World countries (1.95 percent), India adds an average of 17 million new mouths to feed each year. Its population is expected to pass the one billion mark by the year 2001. One-third of India's people now live in 23 cities, each with a million or more inhabitants. Three of those cities already have passed the eight million mark.

According to the Indian government, of the two-thirds of its population living in rural areas, 196 million fall below the poverty level. This is a frightening urban and rural scenario for any country, and more so for a poor nation that has to make some very difficult economic and political choices to be able to remain credible and afloat.

Social Anomalies
India's lingering traditions skew its 20th century modernity. Social injustice and inequality defy constitutional provisions promising democracy and fair play.

The Dalits and "scheduled castes" (otherwise known as untouchables) are not the only victims of continued prejudice. The situation of Indian women is equally insecure. Although thousands of Indian women, like the 12 who graduated in July from the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, are equal partners in the fields of development and technology, there is another side to the story. Although the Hindu religion glorifies femininity, Hindu society treats women as reproduction machines.

In a graphic sequence of the CBS "60 Minutes" program on June 13, 1993, host Morley Safer observed: "With rare exceptions, to be a woman in India is to be less than a slave . . . Her purpose is to bear a treasured son." The program explained that one cause of remarkably low female birth rates in India in recent years is the use of sonograms, not to determine the health of unborn fetuses, but their sex. Tired of the burden of providing a dowry to marry off their daughters, families are aborting unborn females.

Ironically, 1993 also is "The Year of the Woman" in India and a vigorous literacy program, with a focus on women, has been launched. It is badly needed. Of 880 million Indians of both sexes, some 325 million are illiterate. Of these, 200 million are female. These formidable figures, provided by the Indian government, nevertheless represent a dramatic improvement. In 1951, literacy was only 18 percent, with 27 percent of the literates males and 9 percent females. In 1971, literacy increased to 34 percent (46 percent males and 22 percent females). The 1991 literacy rate was 52 percent (64 percent males and 40 percent females).

In absolute terms, however, this leaves staggering numbers of illiterates. The national profile indicates that literacy among both the sexes is much higher in the south than in the north. No country of India's size can hope to go far with one-half of its population unable to read or write.

The Economy
Outside the Warsaw Pact countries, India was the hardest hit by the collapse of the Soviet Union. For more than 40 years the U.S.S.R. had provided a market for Indian goods and a helping hand in industrial and military assistance. During the same period, Delhi presented itself as a socialistic planned economy. Switching suddenly in 1990 to a market economy has not yet produced the desired results.

The June 26, 1993 issue of the London Economist observed: "In 1988, Indian economic growth hit 10 percent a year. Now it is running at under 5 percent." The Economist added, "The growth of the 1980s was financed by a borrowing spree which led to a huge increase in foreign debt and record budget deficits. The party came to an end in 1990-91.”

Since then, the Indian government has made the Indian rupee, which is 32 to the dollar, convertible for settling trade accounts. Customs duties on most imports have been drastically cut, quotas on imports in all but consumer goods have been abolished, and import duties have been dropped from 200 percent to a maximum of 85 percent. Foreign investors are now allowed to invest in the stock market, and many of the former public sector industries have opened up for private investors.

All this has elicited a degree of confidence from foreign investors. Such regulatory and market changes have also caused international monetary assistance agencies like the Consortium, the IMF and the World Bank to pledge more than $15 billion in the past two years to help India.

However, the road to recovery is neither straight nor level. The large bureaucracy does not view deregulation and privatization with any great relish.

Red tape has delayed the changes. Old labor laws make retrenchments in losing industries almost impossible. Companies in such situations prefer to close down rather than trim operations. Foreign investors remain nervous about exit laws that do not allow an easy pullout in case of failures. Civil strife and political uncertainty have also kept many of the potential international investors away.

Nor can all official projections be trusted. The government predicted an economic growth rate of more than six percent this year. However, the Bombay- based Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy reports that, despite good monsoons and increased agricultural output, "the growth rate is projected to improve only marginally to 4.5 percent.”

Moreover, the trade deficit is expected to jump from $5.5 billion last year to $7.25 billion this year. Obviously an economy the size of India's cannot change direction in a matter of months. Nor can economic wizardry function in an unfriendly political and social environment.

The Politics
The post-Cold War world seems to have fallen into the hands of functionaries, not visionaries, and nowhere more so than in India. Under the Nehru dynasty, the Indian National Congress was a powerful political machine that preserved a democracy that is increasingly imperilled today. India's age of national heroes has been replaced by an era of regional leaders with limited visions and narrower goals.

Pulled out of retirement as a temporary replacement after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao has faced widespread communal unrest between Muslims and Hindus, largely fomented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)--a growing right-wing Hindu organization. Rao's troubles have crested with a charge of bribery leveled against him by Harshad Mehta, a stockbroker facing charges arising from a $1.6 billion bank securities scandal. Mehta claims to have paid the prime minister Rs. 10 million ($390,000) to gain political favors. (The long-running Bofors scandal that plagued the late Rajiv Gandhi only conpounds Rao's troubles.)
Although corruption is not a new phenomenon in Indian politics, the present case is taking on a life of its own, with accusations arising against Rao even from within his own Congress party. With November elections scheduled in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan provinces this year, the polarizing BJP is a dismayingly strong contender in all four states.

International Relations
With the demise of its former Soviet ally, India is faced with rebuilding relations with the United States. As a first bold step, India has established diplomatic relations with Israel, among other reasons to obtain the backing in Washington of Israel's powerful lobby there. India also supported President Bill Clinton's decision to attack Baghdad, a move not favored by many Third World countries.

India is an old hand at such games, but now the players are different, the choices are limited and the stakes are very high. Successful economic realignment is just one necessary move.

Washington reminds India that its record on human rights leaves much to be desired, as do its policies toward its smaller neighbors. The Kashmir dispute remains a major irritant in the region, and the Clinton administration is unhappy with New Delhi's unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and its latest attempt to acquire nuclear missile technology from Russia.

What was said behind closed doors for years is now being spelled out by Washington in open meetings. The recently concluded Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the confirmation of Robin Raphel as the new U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs placed the U.S. cards on the table for all to see. Explaining the guidelines for her new job, Raphel said: "We view the whole of Kashmir as a disputed territory and therefore its final status has yet to be resolved. . . What we believe is that any resolution to the question, in order for it to be stable, realistic and long-lasting, has to be accepted by the government of India, the government of Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.”

On nuclear proliferation, Raphel said she would seek aggressively to persuade India and Pakistan to "cap, roll back and finally eliminate their nuclear weapons programs." Stating the Clinton administration's regional approach to issues, Raphel said: "We want to move in a multilateral dialogue" for the area, keeping in mind the nuclear capability of the Central Asian republics. She also expressed American concern for the Missiles Control Technologies Regime, which has caused added problems in Indo-U.S.-Russian relations.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Monument in Hyderabad, India)


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Author Ali, M M
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Canada Calling: Canada's Nearly 400,000 Muslims Concerned about Media Stereotypes

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 54.


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Canada Calling: Canada's Nearly 400,000 Muslims Concerned about Media Stereotypes
Media interest in Islam and Muslims has proliferated since the growth of Islamic revivalist movements, the Gulf war and, more recently, in the wake of the World Trade Center bombing. Members of the 400,000-strong Canadian Muslim community, most of whom live in the larger metropolitan areas such as Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary, contend that rather than educating the public positively, the reporting has tarnished their religion and its adherents.

Sensationalist coverage has cultivated fear of Muslims, Islam and Arabs, says Ausma Khan, a third-year law student at the University of Ottawa, and one of the estimated 150,000 Canadian Muslims with roots in the Indian subcontinent.

Canadian Muslims who take pride in transcending ethnic, linguistic and social differences in organizing their community in the new world claim that the media focuses on peripheral matters when it comes to describing their communities. "As soon as an Islamic movement takes root in a particular country, the media starts beaming pictures of adulterers being punished, or women in veils," says Iqbal Rahman, a student at York University. "It is as if this is all there is to Islam.”

Many feel that the alleged actions of a few individuals, such as those charged with the World Trade Center bombing and those more recently charged with conspiracy to blow up tunnels linking New York and New Jersey, are used to discredit the vast majority of Muslims who are lawabiding contributors to society.

Rashad Liao, one of a growing number of Canadians embracing Islam, says: "Islam teaches that we are not allowed to harm women, children, the aged, or those involved in worship, and that we must not destroy places of worship, or cut down trees, even in warfare.”

Liao, a Scarborough student, sums up the feelings of most Muslims when he points out that with such stringent conditions imposed during warfare, Islam certainly cannot be used to justify killing and maiming the innocent in times of peace. These feelings are shared by most Muslims and by Christian Arabs living in Canada.

Muslims feel that the inaccurate reporting about them derives from misinformation and stereotypes. If a Muslim, or an Arab, be he Christian or Muslim, does anything negative, then the fact that he is a Muslim or an Arab is highlighted, says Maher Abdullah, a Christian and a member of the 300,000- strong Arab-Canadian community. "This kind of wholesale indictment of a people or a religious group is not tolerated if they are other than Arab or Muslim," he adds.

Sensationalist coverage has cultivated fear of Muslims, Islam and Arabs.

Muslims also share a belief that the Western media is preoccupied less with Islam than with its own false stereotypes. Sheikh Ahmed Kutty, imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, the largest Muslim center in Canada, says, "They only seek evidence that confirms their preconceived notions of Islam and Muslims.”

Sheikh Kutty, hailing from India and a graduate of the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia, also blames Muslims who use un-Islamic means to advance their goals, providing the media with ammunition. To halt this spiral, he says the West must stop meddling in the internal affairs of Muslim-majority states, and stop applying double standards with respect to Israel, Serbia, etc., which fuel much of the Muslim anger against the West.

Negative media coverage is attracting growing concern by the community. The March edition of The Message, a monthly magazine with great influence among Canadian Muslims, was almost completely devoted to addressing "How Media Eyes the Muslims" and what should be done to change the present predicament.

The two largest Muslim organizations in North America, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) make a point of including sessions on media-related matters in their annual conventions and gatherings. The 19th annual ISNA Canada conference this summer at the University of Toronto, attended by a cross-section of Muslims, included two sessions on the topic: "Overcoming Negative Media in Television and Newsprint" and "Islam and Media/Responsibility and Accountability." The latter was presented by a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

A specialized workshop in Toronto this summer on how to write letters to the editor attracted over 50 participants who listened attentively and took notes.

Prior to Eid al Fitr and Eid al Adha--the two most important celebrations in the Muslim year--the Islamic Foundation, one of more than 15 mosques serving the 150,000 Muslims in the metropolitan Toronto area, sent out press releases and invited the media to attend observances.

Half a dozen newspapers and stations covered the events, each attended by well over 12,000 worshippers. The Toronto Star, the leading Canadian daily, even reprinted a large segment of the Eid al Fitr khutba (sermon), during which Sheikh Kutty said much about the negative portrayal of Muslims in the media and the responsibility of the media and community in this regard. The organizers hope to continue such successes in reaching out to the greater Canadian society.

Individual Efforts
Muslim individuals also are becoming more active. Iqbal Rahman wrote a story for the York University campus newspaper titled "Media Intolerant Toward Muslims.”

The 23-year-old Pickering resident, who had never even penned a letter to the editor prior to writing his article, was inspired to write it by a spiteful cartoon in the Canadian daily Globe and Mail. It depicted a Muslim sitting on his prayer mat reading books on how to kill, maim and make explosives. In the background was a poster calling for the death of British author Salman Rushdie.

The mathematics student, who is one of 15,000 Canadian Muslims of Caribbean descent, was surprised by the response of the student population to his article. Most felt that his accusation was inaccurate. He feels, however, that Canadians apply a double standard to caricatures or negative coverage of Jews or other minorities.

In fact, many Muslims protested the Feb. 24 cartoon in the conservative Globe and Mail. There was an organized phone-in, a letter-writing campaign and a letter of complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, according to businessman Jamal Hassan, a central figure in the campaign.

This is the second showdown between the paper and Canadian Muslims in less than a year. In the first incident, the paper carried a series of disparaging articles about Islam. Many complained and a group met with editors of the publication.

Some Canadian Muslims feel that even such proactive measures will not suffice. They maintain that hatred of Islam is deeprooted and the result of factors other than misinformation and stereotypes.

"Nothing we do is going to ensure complete impartial coverage, not when Israel goes around paying off the media and gets away with it," says Mohammed Faisel, one of the 80,000 Muslims in Montreal. He was referring to media payoffs emanating from the Israeli embassy in Washington uncovered a few years ago by The New York Times.

Unlike Faisel, a member of the fast-growing Somali-Canadian Muslim community presently estimated at around 65,000, most Canadian Muslims are optimistic. They feel that the community can improve matters by monitoring and meeting with the media, and providing incentives to Muslim youth to pursue media careers. They also believe, however, that the media has to do its share by reaching out to the community and educating itself to ensure objectivity and accuracy. Canadian Muslims, like their U.S. counterparts south of the 49th parallel, believe that the latter two pillars of responsible journalism are increasingly being disregarded in the pursuit of sensationalism.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Central Asia: On the Tajik-Afghan Border The Russians Are Coming - Back

Dunn, Michael Collins. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 55.


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Central Asia: On the Tajik-Afghan Border The Russians Are Coming--Back
As July ended, northern Afghanistan was under persistent Russian artillery fire. This may seem curious, since Afghanistan has no common border with Russia--in fact, there are now several countries in between. Nevertheless, since Russia and Uzbekistan intervened in the Tajik civil war, Russia has been very much involved in that remote portion of its former empire.

Throughout the former Soviet Union, remaining Russian troops are a problem. They continue to cast a shadow over the newly liberated Baltic states, the new republics of the Caucasus and the Muslim states of Central Asia. Russian forces have reportedly fought on the Abkhazian side in the war between that separatist part of Georgia and the Georgian government. The Russian parliament recently declared that Sevastopol, in the Crimea, which is part of Ukraine, is a Russian port. Russia has not by any means given up its interests in its former empire.

In the case of Central Asia, however, Russia has warned of "Islamists" and the danger of Islamic fundamentalism as a justification for intervention to protect the local Russian populations. And so "Islamic fundamentalism" becomes the bκte noire used as an excuse for military action. At the very moment Israel was shelling southern Lebanon, claiming to be acting against Hezbollah, Russia was shelling northern Afghanistan, and claiming it was a defensive action against an Iranian and Islamic threat. The Russian actions had the advantage of being more remote from television cameras, however.

This argument--that radical Islamists are a threat to ethnic Russians--is increasingly heard, and not just to justify Russian intervention in Tajikistan. It has raised concerns in the Islamic world, but it has been virtually ignored in the West.

Why the Russians returned from defeat in Afghanistan to become militarily engaged there again may prove to be an important lesson for the future of Central Asian independence.

The civil war that broke out in Tajikistan last year was really between different regions of the country. One side identified with the old Communist leadership and the other included a democratic movement, the Islamic Revival Party and other groups. The Communist side argued that if the democrats and Islamists won, Tajikistan would become "another Iran," and that the Russians living there would be in jeopardy. Russians now constitute only about 10 percent of the population, perhaps 500,000 people at most.

Since about 23 percent of the population of Tajikistan are ethnic Uzbeks, neighboring Uzbekistan also took up the call. Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov is, despite his first name, an old Communist. He has used the argument that Islam constitutes a threat to Central Asia to crush opposition inside Uzbekistan, and not merely the Islamic opposition.

Russia has not by any means given up its interests in its former empire.

This view of a major threat of Islamist revolution in Central Asia was translated into action when Russian and Uzbek forces simply intervened in the Tajik civil war to assure victory for the ex-Communist forces there. Such blatant intervention in, say, Lithuania or Latvia would have created a major world crisis. In Tajikistan it was largely ignored. Many from the non-Communist side in the Tajik war fled either into the high Pamirs or across the border into northern Afghanistan.

Since the fall of Kabul last year, the northern part of Afghanistan has been generally under the control of ethnic Tajiks under the command of Ahmed Shah Masoud. Ironically, both Masoud and his arch-rival, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, are supporting the Tajik rebels. There has been a flow of people, and no doubt of arms, across the border into Tajikistan.

Since Tajikistan does not yet have its own army (although one is forming), Russia said its intervention was to maintain stability within the Commonwealth of Independent States and prevent formation of a hostile state which would threaten Russian interests. Some Russian commentators portray this as analagous to the United States' Monroe Doctrine for Latin America: Russia is pledging to help its former subject states fight off any "external" threat. By charging Iranian and Afghan involvement on the other side in the Tajik civil war, Russia justifies its own intervention. Russian commentators also cite Western willingness to intervene in the Gulf when oil supplies are in jeopardy.

The problem is that Russian involvement seems to be developing without much reference to the nominal Tajik government in Dushanbe. During the civil war, the one Russian unit still stationed in Tajikistan, the 201st Motorized Rifle Division, was well below its normal peacetime strength. Today the 201st has been brought up to wartime levels of some 12,000 men. Russian border guards also have been stationed along the Tajik-Afghan border to defend "the southern border of the Commonwealth of Independent States," although the CIS has ceased to exist in almost every other way.

The presence of Russians in the midst of an ongoing civil war, and of Russian border guards on the volatile, porous Afghanistan-Tajik border has led to casualties. On July 13 a force of Tajik rebels and/or Afghan mujahidin attacked Russian Border Guard Detail 12 on the border. In the fighting, at least 25 Russian border guards and three members of the 201st Division of the Army were killed.

A "Second Afghan War"?

This led democracy activists in Moscow to warn of a "second Afghan war" in the making; Yelena Bonner and other activists called for an immediate withdrawal from Tajikistan.

But the nationalist voices have been stronger in Moscow, and many call for intervention not only to protect Russian interests in Tajikistan, but in all the former republics of the Soviet Union. (It should be noted that there has been no evidence of the civilian Russian population in Tajikistan being in any jeopardy. All of the Russians killed were combatants guarding the border.)
Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, generally not a hard-liner (he is a Boris Yeltsin appointee), pledged to punish the Afghans for their action. Efforts were stepped up to reinforce the 201st Division, and Russian troops and border guards began interdicting movements out of Afghanistan. It was then that they began shelling areas of northern Afghanistan from which the infiltrators allegedly have been coming. Afghan officials now complain that the border area is becoming uninhabitable.

Grachev sees himself as fighting the "Islamists" and defending the Russians of Tajikistan. Russia claims a right to protect its national interests in its former empire, and it defines those national interests as including the security of the local Russian population. In some countries, such as oil-rich Kazakhstan, that Russian population is equal to the Kazakh population. In most of Central Asia, however, it is a much smaller percentage, like the 10 percent in Tajikistan.

Russians argue that the boundaries of their former empire are Russia's "security borders," and that they cannot tolerate outside intervention within those boundaries. Russians speak of the CIS as a "common strategic space," although with the CIS in disarray, that seems increasingly like a claim to re- imperialization.

Russian intervention in small and remote Tajikistan is no great threat to the West, of course. But Russian intervention in Kazakhstan or, even more credibly, Ukraine could be. If Tajikistan is a rehearsal for such interventions, it could be a real warning bell for the world.

In any event, long after Russia pulled out of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union has ceased to exist, Russian troops are far from Russia's borders, firing into Afghanistan. That the world is not complaining may have a lot to do with the fact that Russia claims to be fighting "Islamic fundamentalism" and that in many capitals anything goes in the name of that new crusade.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Dunn, Michael Collins
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Humanitarian Relief: Azerbaijan, Where a Brushfire War Must Be Stopped Before It Spreads

Ahmed, Syed H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 56.


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Humanitarian Relief: Azerbaijan, Where a Brushfire War Must Be Stopped Before It Spreads
My recent humanitarian trip on behalf of Relief International of Los Angeles to the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, a country nestled between Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and the Caspian Sea, was inspired by two factors. The first was my desire to see the changes that have taken place there since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The second was my ongoing interest in organizing relief assistance and medical help for disaster areas, whether they have been hit by natural calamities like hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, or man-made traumas like acts of genocide, "ethnic cleansing" or declared or undeclared war. The international response to such catastrophes often is characterized by great sympathy, but also great inaction.

The destruction that Hurricane Andrew wrought in south Florida was fresh in my mind when I responded to an appeal for medical help in the war-torn nation of Azerbaijan. Despite numerous warnings about the dangers posed there by the continuing war with Armenia, I could not resist the opportunity to travel to this ancient land renowned for its hospitality, and to do what I could to assist Azeri medical professionals in caring for the influx of refugees from the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azeri territories into the Azeri capital of Baku.

Baku is a beautiful city whose gardens and wide boulevards contrast both with the narrow cobblestoned alleys of the old quarters and the more recent Communist-era architecture. Because Azerbaijan is blessed with such natural resources as oil, gas and gold and with land suitable for growing cotton, its capital long has been a cosmopolitan city.

The beauty of Baku was overshadowed, however, by evidence of the growing toll the war is inflicting on refugees crowding into the city. Their living conditions are deplorable. One refugee camp I visited, known as Jayran Batton Camp, housed over a thousand people who had fled the fighting. It was appalling to see seven or eight people washing, cooking and sleeping in the same small room. The crowded quarters greatly contributed to the spread of infectious diseases, which were prevalent throughout the camps I visited.

Because of the lack of supplies and trained personnel, the level of medical care was primitive. Some camps did not even have a trained nurse, much less a doctor. It was heartbreaking to have to treat a child suffering from an acute allergy problem with nothing but Tylenol, since there was no other medication available. It was also sad to note that very few international relief agencies have acted to help this desperate lot of humanity.

Despite the hardships the refugees were facing, I was surprised at the negligible degree of animosity toward the Armenians. The Azeris I spoke with expressed an eagerness for their country to develop friendly relations with the United States, particularly in the economic, educational and scientific fields. The only political request the refugees asked me to carry back to the American people was for Armenian troops to be withdrawn from Azeri lands. More generally, Azeris hoped the U.S. would help negotiate a just and lasting peace where the territorial integrity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan would be respected, the occupation of Azeri lands should cease, the eviction of civilian populations from their lands would end, and prisoners on both sides would be released immediately.

I returned convinced that the fire in the Caucasus must be extinguished before it spreads elsewhere. European countries who are playing politics by supporting one side or the other must instead work for peace, which will benefit both Armenians and Azeris.

For its part, the U.S. must also stand up for traditional American values. If it applies these values impartially and free from domestic political considerations, it can strengthen the cause of peace and stop the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people on both sides of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (View of Baku)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Ahmed, Syed H
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Issues in Islam: Secularism and the Islamist Challenge

Noakes, Greg. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 57.


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Issues in Islam: Secularism and the Islamist Challenge
Throughout the 20th century, Muslim societies have been torn between the impulse of secularism and the attraction of Islamic renewal. Both systems are seen by their proponents as the key to solving the Muslim world's social, political and economic problems. Secularism has yet to be accepted by most Muslims, however, while the Islamic revival has yet to live up to its heady promises.

Contemporary Islamic thinkers have seized upon the concept of ijtihad, or individual intellectual effort, in order to reinterpret their religious and cultural traditions, meet the challenges of modern life with solutions that draw upon Islam for their source, and fulfill the aspirations of their coreligionists.

"Islamic secularism" is a concept which plays well both in university lecture halls and the give and take of a council of ministers charged with administering a modern nation. In such environments, many scholars and analysts see Islam as a brake on society, impeding the economic and social development of Muslim states.

In the West, the notion that religion should guide society was weakened during the Renaissance, dealt a crushing blow in the Age of Enlightenment and drew its last gasp as the French Revolution put a dramatic end to the "divine right of kings." The course of progress in Western historiography mirrors the story of secularization; man assumes his role as the measure of all things and religion becomes a matter of private devotion.

For a number of modern thinkers, both Muslim and non-Muslim, Islamic society, too, is badly in need of a reformation, or better yet a renaissance, to break religious shackles that keep the Muslim world backward and ignorant. If Muslims are to develop, the secularists argue, Islam must be relegated to the private sphere and rational humanism allowed to guide society.

So much for the lecture hall. In practice, secularization has yet to succeed to any significant degree in most of the Muslim world, though not for lack of effort. Non-Muslims attempted to impose secularism in the Soviet Union and Communist China as a policy directive of the highest order. China's Muslims remain oppressed, but the rapid resurgence of Islam as a faith, political platform and source of sociocultural identity in Central Asia after seven decades of Marxist-Leninist rule indicates the failure of Communism to stamp out the "opiate of the people.”

The 1950s and '60s were the heyday of modernization theory in the West, and particularly in the U.S. Where Moscow and Beijing sought to tear Muslims from their faith, Washington expected they would wean themselves voluntarily from "reactionary" Islam.

In the post-World War II era, modernization theorists talked about the educational power of mass media, surveyed individual attitudes toward social change and "modernization" and generally attempted to remake the Muslim world in the West's image.

Naive "Modernization”

Daniel Lerner, a leading architect of modernization theory, rather patronizingly wrote that the West would transform the Arab world through "a rationalist and positivist spirit against which Islam is absolutely defenseless." Some 35 years later, modernization theory is a curious relic of a bygone age of naivete, shattered by realities it had failed to take into account.

Some Muslim rulers adopted the secularist model as well, following either the authoritarian or liberal path to "modernity." Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's scorchedearth Westernization of Turkey in the 1920s is an example of the first approach. Turks were forced to use a European alphabet and wear European clothes, shrines and religious brotherhoods were closed and the number of mosques limited by government decree. Resistance to such enforced secularization was met with repression, and occasionally with death.

In Tunisia, Habib Bourguiba followed a kinder, gentler program. While Mustafa Kemal proclaimed Turkey a secular republic, Islam remained the state religion in Tunisia. Bourguiba built mosques rather than closed them. Yet he also dissolved the Zitouna University, a seat of Islamic learning since the Middle Ages; prohibited women from wearing the hijab ("veil"); and in 1961 called on Tunisians not to observe the Ramadan fast--one of the five pillars of Islam--in order to wage "the struggle against underdevelopment.”

The policies of Ataturk and Bourguiba transformed their nations. Eventually, however, they also produced two of the more active and organized Islamist movements of the past 20 years. Again the seeds of secularism fell on barren ground.

The seeds of secularism fell on barren ground.

The strength of attachment and depth of feeling that most Muslims associate with their faith dispelled the secularist dream, at least for the foreseeable future. The victory of the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in the first round of Algeria's aborted parliamentary elections came as a surprise only to those observers whose social circles were limited to the garden of the Hotel Aurassi in Algiers. Talking to ordinary Algerians, one sensed strong support for the FIS, not because of specific policy proposals but "because we are Muslims and we must have Islam" to solve the country's problems.

Muslims are fond of saying that Islam is applicable in all places in all times. The problem is: Which Islam? Is it the anachronistic legalism of a scholarly tradition which declared the "door of individual interpretation" closed a millennium ago, the ethereal Islam of the mystics, or perhaps Islamic modernism, "fundamentalism," liberalism, conservatism or traditionalism?

Proclaiming, as many contemporary Islamist groups do, that "Islam is the solution!" is really no solution at all. Slogans don't repay foreign debts, build housing and infrastructure, feed the hungry, spark investment, regulate societies or solve foreign policy disputes. The problem of Muslim decline, seized upon by the secularists with such alacrity, is a real dilemma that must be addressed. The answers, unfortunately, are not ready-made.

How can Muslims, confronted by modern challenges yet clearly opposed to the secular solutions of the West, respond? The answer most contemporary Muslim thinkers propose is that of ijtihad, the "individual intellectual effort" opposed by conservative sheikhs for so long.

Ijtihad comes from the same Arabic root as jihad, and both have the sense of "effort" or "struggle." Ijtihad is an intellectual struggle to use reason and knowledge to arrive at an appropriate solution to a given situation or question. Originally the term applied to Islamic law, but contemporary Islamists have extended it to all forms of religious discourse and thought: politics, economics, social affairs and, of course, law and theology.

Ijtihad, for these Islamists, is a method to preserve Islamic principles while still meeting contemporary challenges and adapting Islamic teachings to new situations. In some ways it is a purifying process of reducing Islam to its essence. Some features of modern Muslim society, whether local cultural practices or imported ideological models, can be rejected as un-Islamic. Other elements are valueneutral, and may be retained or rejected according to the needs and preferences of society. There are also elements of Muslim society that are judged to be inherent in an Islamic order, and must be maintained or revivified so that society fosters the expression of Islamic principles and practice.

Again, the theoretical construct works flawlessly in the faculty lounge or the pages of a manifesto. In practice, however, the process is a daunting one, and the advocates of Ijtihad are divided over both ideological and utilitarian issues. There is heated debate about what yardsticks should be used to measure Islamic society, how much change can be accommodated, and the methodology through which that change can be implemented.

Even the choice of issues to be debated is open to discussion. Is architecture valueneutral, for instance? If not, what constitutes "Islamic architecture"?

Across the Middle East, men don long white thobes and women cover their hair as outward expressions of their commitment to Islam. Yet a leading North African Islamist proclaims that if the Prophet Muhammad were living today he would wear a wool business suit and fly the Concorde. So is traditional clothing, banned by Ataturk and prescribed by some Islamists, an essential element of Muslim society or is it a matter of no particular religious, political or social concern?

The questions being debated among Islamists are as complicated as human society itself. Thinkers and scholars see their theories collapse in the face of complex social realities. An examination of five areas of practical concern for proponents of ijtihad also reveals some of the larger issues with which they are grappling.

One of the fiercest debates among Islamists concerns the compatibility of democracy and Islam. Some argue that democracy is unbelief and denies the sovereignty of God, while others say that the people should have a say in government through the Islamic concept of shura, or consultation, and develop models of how this shura should work and to whom it should apply.

Still other Islamists believe that Western democracy is perfectly compatible with an Islamic state, and in fact is an ideal form of government. The issue of democracy's acceptability, with or without modifications in form or terminology, raises a question about the integration of non-Islamic elements into an Islamic system. If democracy is acceptable or, according to some, essential to the maintenance of an Islamic order, what other theories and systems developed outside of the Islamic system should be adopted?

Attitudes toward women are another issue. Most Islamist thinkers argue that women must participate fully in society, whether in education, professional careers or political activity. The denial of a woman's rights as guaranteed by the Qur'an and the Prophet is unconscionable, and these rights must be reinstated before an Islamic society is realized.

Other thinkers and many rank-and-file Islamists, however, have adopted the attitude that a woman's place is in the home, that public life should be the preserve of men and that women should be subservient. Some base these views on interpretations of Islamic texts, but most refer to traditional sex roles and argue that they should be maintained to protect society.

In matters of gender, there is a clear differentiation between the ideas and rhetoric of the intellectuals, which stress that women must play an active role in national life, and the restrictive attitudes of many ordinary Muslims. This dichotomy within the Islamist movement begs the question of whether the intellectual ideal can be implemented in the face of traditionalist values. Ijtihad is a tool of change, but there are clearly limits as to how much change is realistically possible.

Another issue which Islamists are tackling is the extent to which Islam is applicable in certain fields, and the possibility that certain spheres of activity may be beyond "Islamization." Science and technology are the best examples of this. Physics experiments produce the same results whether performed by a Muslim or a non-Muslim scientist. The process for operating a fax machine, an Abrams tank or a television set is the same in the Muslim world as anywhere else, and Islamists must decide whether an "Islamic science" really exists, or is just a hollow vanity.

Discussion of economic matters has led Islamists to another dilemma. Islam forbids the payment or acceptance of usury, which most Islamic scholars agree applies to ordinary banking interest. Islamists, so far, have wrestled in vain with the place of an interest-free economic system within an increasingly interdependent global economy based on interest.

At this stage of economic development it is clearly impossible for the Muslim world to break away from the larger worldwide system, but how can the participation of Muslim states, institutions and individuals in that system be squared with Islamic economic principles? There are some external limits to the Islamist project that must be recognized and either acknowledged or overcome by Islamist intellectuals.

Internal Constraints
Finally, there are internal constraints in Middle Eastern society that complicate the practical application of the Islamist agenda. The most obvious is the presence of non-Muslim minorities in many Muslim nations. Most Islamists agree that non-Muslims should not be subject to Islamic law, but are less clear about the relationship between a central Muslim administration and non-Muslim communities.

Some want to resurrect the dhimmi system, where non-Muslims were protected minorities subject to an additional tax but free of requirements like military service. Others see non-Muslims as full partners in an Islamic system where only areas like family life and social customs would be excluded from Islamic rules. There is at best an ambivalence about the issue, but it is a crucial concern in the application of any kind of Islamic system. How the issue is eventually resolved will have an important, probably decisive, influence on the relations between Islamic civilization and non-Muslim societies, virtually all of which have their own Muslim minorities.

The complicated issues of the admissibility of outside concepts, ideological cohesion, scope of activity, and external and internal constraints seem insurmountable to many observers. Islamists, though, argue that any social system or political ideology is subject to the same problems and that Islam is better equipped than most to meet these challenges. By using ijtihad to answer the twin questions of what is Islam and how should it be applied, Islamists believe that they can construct an Islamic system based on eternal principles yet fully capable of meeting the social, political, cultural and economic needs of the contemporary Muslim world.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Noakes, Greg
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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California Chronicle: Accused Letter-Bomb Murderer Extradited to U.S. from Israel

Twair, Pat; Twair, Samir. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 60.


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California Chronicle: Accused Letter-Bomb Murderer Extradited to U.S. from Israel
Robert Steven Manning, the prime suspect in the 1985 pipe-bomb murder of American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) director Alex Odeh, has been extradited from Israel to California to stand trial for the 1980 mail-bomb killing of Patricia Wilkerson, a Manhattan Beach secretary who opened a booby- trapped package on which fingerprints of Manning and his wife Rochelle subsequently were identified.

Under extradition conditions set by Israel, Manning cannot be tried for the murder of the ADC official, or for three other politically motivated bombings in which he is a prime suspect, because they occurred after he became an Israeli citizen. These 1985 incidents include the Patterson, NJ murder of an immigrant to the U.S. suspected by Jewish Defense Organization members of World War II Nazi activities in Europe; the wounding with a bomb of another suspected ex-Nazi in Brentwood, NY; and injuries to two police officers trying to defuse a bomb placed outside the ADC office in Boston. In 1972, Manning was convicted of bombing the Hollywood home of Palestinian activist Mohammed Shaath. The 1980 murder for which he will be tried allegedly stems from a business dispute between a Jewish Defense Organization colleague of the Mannings and a real estate executive who employed Mrs. Wilkerson as his secretary.

A high school drop-out, Manning claims to have received ballistics training in the U.S. Army. However, according to the Los Angeles Times, he was a water supply technician before the Army discharged him after less than one year's service because he was mentally unstable. Immediately after the murder of Odeh, who was killed by a bomb attached to the door of his office, Manning fled to Israel. There he was linked with the ultra-right Kach movement, founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane. During the more than seven years he lived in the Kiryat Arba Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Manning and his attorneys used delaying tactics to avoid extradition. One court-ordered delay was based on his statement that he could not be assured of receiving kosher food in American prisons. In his final effort, Manning swallowed 20 sleeping pills just before he was scheduled to board a U.S.-bound plane. TWA refused to transport him for several days until he recovered from the overdose.

After his July 18 arrival in the U.S., Manning was denied bail on the grounds that he might flee and is a danger to the community. In jail he is segregated from other prisoners because bobby pins he uses to attach his yarmulka might be used as weapons.

An extradition request also has been made for Manning's wife, Rochelle, who was arrested during a visit to the U.S. and tried for the Wilkerson murder in 1989. The California jury deadlocked, and she returned to Israel.

Extradition Conditions
Israeli handling of Cleveland, Ohio worker John Demjanjuk, extradited from the U.S. to Israel on charges that he was a sadistic killer called "Ivan the Terrible" at the Treblinka death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland in World War II, could set a precedent for U.S. handling of Robert Manning.

Demjanjuk was acquitted of the Treblinka charge in July, after seven years of detention in Israel, but was not immediately released. If the Israeli Supreme Court charges Demjanjuk with other crimes for which he was not extradited, this could set a precedent for U.S. courts to charge Manning with other bombing deaths, including the 1985 murder of Alex Odeh.

Multicultural Demonstration Against ADL Spying in Los Angeles
Young Koreans United of Los Angeles dressed in national costumes, pounding large oriental drums and striking gongs, members of the Coalition Against Black Exploitation and Friends of the African National Congress, and members of other widely divergent organizations carried banners and shouted slogans protesting spying by B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League at a June 22 demonstration in front of ADL headquarters in Los Angeles.

As 100-plus protesters marched in front of the three-story building, a group of plainclothes police observed them with binoculars from the crest of a weedy knoll across Santa Monica Boulevard. With them was a photographer wearing a police badge and plain clothes. Two of the demonstrators approached the police and took a photo of the police photographer, who earlier had explained he was taking photos of the protesters for his files.

"Don't take my photo," the police cameraman shouted at Yusef Haddad, president of the Arab American Press Guild. "Why are you taking my photo?”

Replied Haddad: "For my files.”

As the rally began, speakers stood on a street-corner bus bench. ADC chapter President Don Bustany introduced himself and explained that the group was protesting because the ADL had illegally compiled the names of 10,000 citizens.

Entertainer Casey Kasem then spoke to the crowd, saying it was time for the ADL to return to its original purpose of protecting the rights of Jews and to publicly apologize to Arab Americans, African Americans, Greenpeace, the ACLU, Asian Caucus, United Farm Workers, Accuracy in Media and other groups upon which ADL had spied and compiled files.

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Robert Farrell commented: "It saddens us all when an organization like the ADL violates the law by making police information available to others." He pledged to file a complaint the next day with Joe Rouzan Jr., executive director of the Los Angeles Police Commission, about the police officer who photographed demonstrators.

A Meeting With the Police
Farrell followed up with a June 29 meeting with the Los Angeles Police Commission. The city councilman told Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams and newly installed Police Commission President Jess A. Brewer that data on antiapartheid activities could have been passed to the ADL as a result of closed sessions of the Los Angeles City Council at which such information was discussed in the presence of ADL infiltrators.

"Anti-apartheid leaders from South Africa who talked to me in City Hall have been violated," Farrell complained. "It is terrible to think the ADL has been spying on progressive liberation movements while all this time it appeared the ADL was in the forefront of the struggle against racism.”

Dr. Yigal Arens, an Israeli-American peace activist, testified that Arab Americans had been endangered when traveling to the occupied territories by information the ADL had gathered illegally. Brewer and Chief Williams said they would take the charges against the ADL seriously and look into the picture- taking by the police photographer as well. This was the first time the LAPD publicly agreed to probe charges that at least one officer may have turned over confidential information to the ADL.

NAAA Members Meet Rep. Jay Kim
It was an educational session for both Rep. Jay Kim and more than 25 members of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Arab Americans when they met June 19 in the Upland home of Samir and Aida Mansour. Kim, who was elected to represent the 41st Congressional District in a landslide victory last November, serves on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee and the Small Business Committee.

Rep. Kim, an immigrant to the United States from Korea as a young man, said Arab Americans are the most misunderstood people in the U.S. He added that this is changing rapidly in Congress as Arab Americans become better organized and speak up on issues.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Kim served on the City Council of Diamond Bar and was president and founder of Jaykim Engineers, one of the top 500 engineering design firms in the U.S.

NAAA members warned the freshman congressman against being misled by congressional committee members who fail to mention that innocent-sounding allocations they tuck into the federal budget send millions of dollars to Israel. While shipyards and Naval facilities are being closed on the West Coast, another stressed, Israel's supporters in Congress are seeking to set a up U.S. Sixth Fleet home port and repair facility in Haifa.

Interjected another member: "Israel claims it has never defaulted on a U.S. loan, but that is because of the Cranston Amendment that pays the annual interest on Israel's debt.”

Another said she had been in Jordan when an Israeli nuclear reactor leaked. Although neighboring Middle Eastern states were alarmed, the American media did not report the incident nor mention the dangerous situation caused by nuclear weapons development by Israel, which refuses to sign the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty.

Another NAAA member asked Representative Kim to look into Amnesty International's latest report on Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights which, if verified by the State Department, should disqualify the Jewish state from receiving U.S. foreign aid. All of this appeared to be news to Rep. Kim, who promised to bone up on the Cranston Amendment and Amnesty International reports on human rights violations in the Middle East.

Less than four weeks after Rep. Kim's meeting with his NAAA constituents, the Los Angeles Times published several fullpage articles accusing him of illegally using funds from his engineering corporation to finance his campaign. Sandra Garner, his chief of staff, said the congressman has turned his company books over to two prominent Republican consultants to review his campaign expenditures.

"He's put the records into the hands of the pros and he wants only to stay focused on his work in Congress," Garner said. She added that Los Angeles Times reporter Claire Spiegel, who launched the illegal campaign financing charge, initially called at Kim's office stating she wanted to "write about the American dream come true.”

Showdown Nears on Purchase of Israeli Bonds With California Pension Funds
California activists have been doing their utmost to discuss with state senators Assembly Bill 216, which would authorize purchase of Israeli bonds with California pension funds. The state senate is scheduled to vote on the controversial bill sometime after its return from its August recess.

AB 216 was introduced April 12 to the state assembly by Assemblymen Burt Margolin, Terry Friedman, Barbara Friedman and Terry Farr. It was passed unanimously on April 21 by the assembly's Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security (PER&SS) committee. On May 3, it was approved 62 to 8 on the assembly floor.

It might also have sailed through the senate, except that the upcoming assembly vote was publicized in the Los Angeles Times and a member of the National Association of Arab Americans spotted the item. NAAA and Arab American Institute (AAI) activists called senate PER&SS committee members and pointed out the risk of investing California pension funds in Israeli bonds, which have an extremely low BBB status.

Apparently due to the hue and cry over Israeli bonds, PER&SS chairwoman Teresa Hughes amended the bill to include Canadian and Mexican bonds. During the July 21 PER&SS hearing on AB 216, State Sen. Patrick Johnston asked why AB 216 was becoming a Middle Eastern issue. He was referring to testimony in favor of the bill by the Jewish Public Affairs Council, and against it by AAI and the Arab American Caucus for the California Democratic Party. No Mexican or Canadian proponents were present.

The senate PER&SS committee vote was three Democrats for and two Republicans against AB 216. Before the state senate voted on the bill, however, it was adjourned for a one-month recess.

During the recess the NAAA has mailed out information on AB 216 and arranged for meetings with state senators to ask them to invest California pension funds in California, and not in the bonds of any foreign power.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Jay Kim with Aida and Samir Mansour)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Twair, Pat; Twair, Samir
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Arab-American Activism

Willford, Catherine M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 62.


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ARAB-AMERICAN ACTIVISM: Arab-American Organizations Mobilize Swiftly to Protest Israeli Bombardment of Lebanon
Arab-American organizations reacted swiftly to Israel's bombardment and invasion of Lebanon in July, holding demonstrations, meeting with administration officials and planning relief efforts.

The Council of Presidents of National Arab-American Organizations met with National Security Adviser Martin Indyk on July 28 and with Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward Djerejian on July 30. During both meetings, Arab-American leaders expressed outrage and frustration with the continued assault on the Lebanese people by Israeli forces. Before the U.S.- brokered July 31 cease-fire, more than 500,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were displaced and thousands were wounded, according to U.N. relief agencies in south Lebanon.

The Council members urged the administration of Bill Clinton to resolve the root cause of the conflict--the Israeli occupation of Lebanon--by joining with the United Nations to enforce U.N. Security Council Resolution 425, which has called for Israel's immediate and unconditional withdrawal since it was enacted in 1978.

Following the meeting with Djerejian, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) President Albert Mokhiber stated on behalf of the Council, "As Americans of Arab descent we are ashamed that our tax dollars are being used to wantonly slaughter and 'ethnically cleanse' whole communities in southern Lebanon and create a devastating refugee crisis in Beirut." The Council called on the U.S. to enforce immediately the U.S. Arms Control Export Act of 1961, which prohibits the use of U.S. military equipment in aggressive acts except in the case of "internal" security--since the initial Hezbollah attacks cited by Israel as a pretext to launch its air strike campaign occurred in occupied Lebanese territories and not in Israel proper--and to cease all military and financial aid to Israel.

During the Israeli bombardment of Lebanon, ADC held demonstrations in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC. Representatives of the Jewish Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Peace joined the demonstration on Friday, July 30 to light Sabbath candles and to express their opposition to Israel's practices in Lebanon.

Save Lebanon has organized a campaign to collect pharmaceuticals and emergency medical equipment and supplies, as well as milk for children and tents to house the displaced. Save Lebanon will ship materials and provide grants to the Lebanese Red Cross and Amal Association for Relief. "It is now the time to translate the shock and anger into positive action to help concretely the families and children victimized by this latest Israeli aggression," said save Lebanon Executive Director Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna on announcing the campaign. For information contact Save Lebanon at 918 16th St. NW, Suite 9011, Washington, DC 20006 or call (202) 429-2505.

ADC Protests ADL Surveillance
On June 22, a coalition led by ADC protested the alleged nationwide spying and surveillance network of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL). As more than 60 protesters marched in front of the Washington, DC headquarters of ADL, ADC President Albert Mokhiber stated, "We are here to break the myth that the ADL has been spying on fringe groups." Representatives from the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Women's Strike for Peace, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Young Koreans United, the Washington Peace Center and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission participated in the protest, expressing their outrage that files seized in a February San Francisco police raid on the office of an ADL employee showed a pattern of "monitoring and infiltrating" mainstream progressive organizations, as well as extreme rightwing and racist organizations.

"ADL is an organization with multiple personalities," said Mokhiber. "One day it wears its hat as a defender of civil rights. The next day it puts on its defender of Israel hat and wantonly violates the very rights it claims to defend.”

Marching with a sign calling herself a "pinko, feminist, Irish tree- hugger who believes in the First Amendment," ADC-Dallas Chapter member Ellen Barfield remarked cheerfully, "If I wasn't spied on already, I should be in the files by tomorrow." During the protest, Myra Lensky Boland of ADL spoke to the police assigned to the demonstration and took pictures. As they were being photographed, demonstrators smiled and waved.

AAI Urges Census Reclassification for Arab Americans
In testimony given June 30 before the House Subcommittee on Census, Statistics and Postal Personnel, Arab American Institute (AAI) Director Helen Samhan urged the U.S. House of Representatives to create a new multi-ethnic category for Arab Americans and others from the Middle East, thereby achieving official recognition as a minority group in the United States.

According to AAI, such recognition would be important for Arab Americans because it could result in a more accurate (and higher) count of Arab Americans in the next census, planned for the year 2000. An increased count would affect funding for social agencies which serve Arab-American needs and could help secure civil rights and protection from discrimination.

At present, Arab Americans are categorized in the census as a "white, non-European" ethnic community--a status, according to AAI Director Samhan, which is "both inadequate and harmful to Arab Americans." She pointed out that while the Bureau of Census classifies Arab Americans as "racial sisters" of Europeans, U.S. immigration policy extends preference to Europeans, but not any Middle Eastern group.

Samhan noted that while Arab Americans have experienced civil rights abuses and discrimination based on national origin and religion, Arab Americans have received no protection as a class because they are not counted as a minority group.

Rather than ask for a racial category, Samhan argued for a new classification, "Middle Eastern," based partly on language and partly on geography, which she compared to the Hispanic or Asian classification. "When you consider that Arab Americans and other Middle Easterners (Iranians, Turks and Afghans, for example) have common roots geographically, share for the most part a common language or script and common religious heritages, and often face similar discrimination and exclusion," said the AAI director, "there is no discernable reason why a new category of 'Middle Eastern' could not be added to the census in order to ensure that Arab Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern origin are adequately accounted for in the census.”

AAUG and Bir Zeit University Co-Sponsor Conference
The Association of Arab-American University Graduates (AAUG) and the West Bank's Bir Zeit University cosponsored the conference "Palestine, the Arab World, and the Emerging International System: Values, Culture and Politics" from July 5-8. The conference, held on the campuses of Bir Zeit and An-Najah University in Nablus, was chaired by Dr. Ibrahim Abu-Lughod. Among the more than 500 guests and participants were former Nablus Mayor Bassam Shaka, Bethlehem Mayor Elias Freij, Knesset member Abdel-Wahab Darawshe and the consuls of France, Britain and Belgium.

In his welcoming remarks Bir Zeit President Dr. Hanna Nasir praised the decision to hold the conference in Palestine as a means of breaking the isolation of Palestinian academics. The plenary addresses of the conference were delivered by Lord Ian Gilmour, member of the House of Lords and former British secretary of state, and Dr. Edward Said of Columbia University. Said praised the secular and democratic nature of the Palestinian struggle, but stressed that the Palestinian leadership must address U.S. public opinion outside of the State Department in order to garner widespread support for the national struggle.

For the first time in its history, Bir Zeit University conferred an honorary degree, citing Dr. Said for "his steadfast support of the Palestinian people and Palestinian education.”

ICNA Provides Emergency Relief to Midwest
In the wake of record floods in the Midwest during July, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) established a relief camp at the Des Moines Islamic Center. According to ICNA, this was the first effort by any Islamic organization for relief in the U.S. The main focus of the relief project was supplying drinking water and offering transportation assistance to disabled families and the elderly.

By July 26, ICNA Relief had distributed over 18,000 pounds of canned food, bottled water and baby formula. The Muslim community of Dallas, the Islamic Council of Iowa and Mercy International, U.S.A. assisted in the relief program.

Stevens Awards Committee Honors Halsell, Shaheen
Author-journalist Grace Halsell of Washington, DC, and Dr. Jack G. Shaheen, professor of mass communication at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, IL, were honored July 9 in Philadelphia for their work in fostering American-Arab understanding.

Dr. Shaheen, an internationally recognized authority on stereotypical portraits of Arabs and Muslims in the mass media, received the 1993 Janet Lee Stevens Award. The award is in memory of Janet Lee Stevens, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student who was killed in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Dr. Shaheen is the author of The TV Arab and is currently working on two new books--The Comic Book Arab and The Hollywood Arab. He is the sixth recipient of the annual award.

Ms. Halsell received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the first of its kind to be conferred by the committee. Among the works cited by the award committee at the presentation were Ms. Halsell's two books which focus on the Middle East--Journey to Jerusalem (1981) and Prophecy and Politics (1986).

The awards were presented by Dr. Thomas Naff, professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Stevens Award Committee.

Later in the ceremony, Ms. Halsell also was honored by "The Friends of Grace Halsell Committee," composed of individuals and organizations who assembled a fund to help her continue her work. Committee Chairman Robert L. Norberg, director of the Aramco Services Company office in Washington, DC, presented Ms. Halsell with a check and a scroll inscribed with the names of the committee members.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (People protesting bombing in Lebanon)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Willford, Catherine M
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Human Rights

Lorenz, Andrea W. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 63.


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HUMAN RIGHTS: World Conference Delegates Urge Support for Bosnia
Despite an agreement not to discuss individual countries' grievances, representatives from 172 nations who gathered in June to attend the World Conference on Human Rights could not ignore Bosnia's agony. Held in Vienna, the meeting was the first global human rights conference to be convened in the post-Cold War period. Led by Pakistan and other Muslim nations, representatives of 88 countries called upon the United Nations to "take forceful and decisive steps," including lifting the arms embargo on the Bosnian government. The resolution also called on the U.N. Security Council to take "effective measures" to reverse Serb territorial gains and urged use of force to implement a U.N.-backed peace plan that would reshape Bosnia into a sovereign state.

The U.S. took a "hands-off" attitude and was one of 54 countries that abstained from the affirmative vote to aid Bosnia. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs John Shattuck suggested that the "human rights catastrophe" in Bosnia was no worse than many taking place in other countries. "There are human rights crises throughout the globe," he said, urging other countries to avoid creating a "hierarchy of human rights catastrophes.”

Women formed a well-organized bloc at the conference, particularly in discussions of gender-based abuses. The plight of Bosnian women who have suffered systematic rape and torture as prisoners of Serbian military forces received particular attention. At a day-long "tribunal," 26 women from 25 countries-including two from the former Yugoslavia-provided horrifying accounts of government-sanctioned abuses they or their countrywomen had endured. The delegates demanded that the United Nations take action.

As a result, the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action includes a provision calling for integration of the equal status of women and their human rights into the "mainstream of United Nations system-wide activity." It states that "violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law." The declaration calls for an "effective response" to such violations, and urges all signatories to ratify by the year 2000 the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Director Dorothy Thomas of the Women's Rights Project of Human Rights Watch said at the conference that she would have preferred even stronger support in the declaration for the principle of the universality of human rights. Nevertheless, she said, "the stature of women's human rights work has been greatly enhanced.”

Conference delegates also vowed to fight hunger and poverty. Paragraph 13 of the Vienna Declaration affirmed that "extreme poverty and social exclusion constitute a violation of human dignity and that urgent steps are necessary to achieve better knowledge of extreme poverty and its causes, including those related to the problem of development, in order to promote the human rights of the poorest." The declaration calls on richer countries to increase aid to the poorest countries. The World Conference also called upon the international community "to make all efforts" to alleviate the external debt burden of developing countries.

Malnutrition in West Bank and Gaza
Israel's sealing off of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has depleted the incomes of thousands of Palestinian families, according to separate reports by Harvard University scholar Sara M. Roy and American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) President Peter Gubser, both of whom recently returned from the area. In response to attacks on Israelis in March, the Israeli government sealed off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, barring 130,000 Palestinians from their jobs inside Israel. Some 800,000 people are now imprisoned in an area of about 360 square kilometers.

"For the first time since 1967, a large and growing number of people in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have permanently lost their jobs," wrote Roy in her article "Apartheid, Israeli-Style" (The Nation, July 26-Aug. 2, 1993). Many Palestinian families have used up their personal savings, and consumption of all goods has fallen dramatically. "Sales of red meat have dropped by 70 to 90 percent," she wrote. "Overall food purchases (except for basic commodities) have declined by 50 to 70 percent." UNRWA officials estimate that the West Bank is losing $2 million and the Gaza Strip $750,000 a day in wages.

Because many families are unable to purchase even basic foodstuffs, signs of malnutrition are appearing among Palestinian children. "On my last trip to Gaza, in January, teachers in UNRWA schools told me that more and more of their students eat only one meal a day," wrote Roy. "The specter of widespread hunger and severe malnutrition looms over the Palestinian community.”

The official Israeli reaction to the crisis came from Health Minister Haim Ramon who said, "I do not understand the basis for the claim that we are obligated to provide employment for the Palestinians. We have no reponsibilities toward them.”

The Gaza Center for Rights and Law blamed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for the "worst year" in human rights abuses in Gaza. Since the beginning of 1993, Israeli soldiers have destroyed 182 families' homes with anti-tank missiles and explosives. In addition, more than 800 Palestinians, 347 of whom were under the age of 16, were injured by the Israeli army during June.

Discovery of Israeli Medical Form Provokes Calls for Reform
A "Medical Fitness Form" which asked Israeli army doctors to certify prisoners' fitness for torture was discovered by chance on a physician's desk and became a smoking gun for human rights activists. The form, issued by the Department of Interrogation, asked physicians the following questions: "Are there any limitations to the prisoner's stay in an isolated cell?" "Are there any limitations to the prisoner's chaining?" "Are there any limitations to wearing head/eye cover?" and "Are there any limitations to prolonged standing?”

Israeli attorney Tamar Peleg discovered the form filled out by an Israel Defense Force doctor after he examined her client, a 26-year-old Palestinian detainee named Ribhi Shuker. The doctor had certified that there were no limitations to Shuker's being placed in an isolation cell, wearing a hood, being chained, or being forced to stand for prolonged periods, and Shuker was transferred to the Shin Bet interrogation center. There he was hooded, beaten, and had his hands and feet tied together behind his back.

As a result of the controversy, the 12,000-member Israel Medical Association published the form in its newsletter, and in June Dr. Miriam Zangen, head of the association, sent a letter to Prime Minister Rabin saying doctors would be "complying with torture" if they filled out the forms. The association's medical ethics committee announced it would open an investigation of any doctor who complied.

At a mid-June conference in Tel Aviv on "The International Struggle Against Torture and the Case of Israel," many of the 500 mostly Israeli participants attested to Israel's practice of torture. Although the practice is not new, it received formal authorization in the 1987 report of the Israeli government's Landau Commission, which approved the use of "moderate physical pressure" to extract information from prisoners. Neve Gordon, head of the Association of Israeli Palestinian Physicians for Human Rights, testified that onefourth to one-half of the 10,000 Palestinians imprisoned each year are tortured in order to extract confessions.

As a result, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel has launched a campaign to gather signatures on a petition condemning torture. The petition blames tactics of Israel's General Security Service (GSS) for at least 5 of the 17 deaths--including 3 listed as suicides--that occurred during investigations in 1988 and 1989.

In a further development, left-wing lawmakers in the Israeli Knesset proposed a bill that would outlaw torture of Palestinian prisoners and provide jail terms ranging from one to seven years for convicted torturers. Furthermore, evidence obtained by interrogators through torture would not be legal in court.

Israel Challenges Amnesty's Report
Amnesty International's 1993 World Report states in its section on Israel and the occupied territories that in 1992 the Israel Defense Force arrested 25,000 Palestinians on security grounds--with more than 10,000 imprisoned at any one time. Several hundred more, it says, were administratively detained without charge or trial. Among them were Palestinian and Israeli prisoners of conscience, including conscientious objectors to military service. The report notes that "Palestinians under interrogation were systematically tortured or ill-treated and four died in circumstances related to their treatment under interrogation.”

The Israeli army responded that Amnesty's report was "disturbing" and accused the human rights organization of failing to give a fair account of Palestinian attacks against Jews and fellow Arabs. An IDF spokesman complained: "This report doesn't differentiate between the effort the IDF must make to maintain security and public order in the territories in a legal framework, and the uninhibited acts of murder by terrorist organizations and gangs that don't see themselves subject to any moral or legal restraints at all." In fact, the Amnesty report had noted a rise in "deliberate and arbitrary" killings by armed Palestinian groups.

To back its assertions, the Israeli Defense Ministry published a new book entitled Israel, the Intifada and the Rule of Law, which defends Israeli practices in the territories. The book argues that Israel meets and often surpasses Western human rights standards and claims that "Israel is more sensitive to law than any other occupier in history.”

Censorship in Lebanon
Middle East Watch reported in June that the Lebanese government of President Elias Hrawi is enforcing tight censorship over the Lebanese press. In April and May the government shut down one television network and three daily newspapers.

The government accused the ICN television station of fomenting sectarian strife by charging Prime Minister Hariri with attempting to Islamize Lebanon. Middle East Watch speculates it was ICN's regular airing of views critical of both the Lebanese and the Syrian governments which led to its shutdown.

The newspaper Nida al-Watan was accused of the same offense as ICN. If convicted, its publisher, Mohammed Shams Al-Din, faces three years in prison.

The left-of-center daily As-Safir was closed for publishing an Israeli working paper presented at the Middle East peace negotiations in Washington.

Al-Sharq was closed after it published an unflattering cartoon of President Hrawi's family. Insulting the president is an offense that can be punished by a three-year prison sentence. Middle East Watch noted that Al-Sharq was closed despite its openly pro-Syrian policy.

The newspapers have since been allowed to republish, pending judicial review. However, the television network, ICN, has not been allowed to renew operations.

According to Middle East Watch, in 1992 the Hrawi government banned 138 private associations. In addition, the government has asserted police control over all non-periodical publications including plays and films, all of which must be submitted to the police for approval before being distributed.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Lorenz, Andrea W
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Jews And Israel

Richman, Sheldon. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 65.


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JEWS AND ISRAEL: American Jews Debate Demjanjuk Acquittal
The Jewish American reaction to the Israeli Supreme Court's acquittal of Ukrainian-American auto worker John Demjanjuk on charges that he was "Ivan the Terrible," a sadistic gas chamber operator who slashed and maimed many of his victims before killing them at the Treblinka death camp, was summed up by an anonymous Jewish-American leader who told the Reuter news service: "If this had come from any other court but the Israeli Supreme Court, I would have accused them of anti-Semitism.”

Those hoping for Demjanjuk's conviction may have been briefly cheered by the Israeli decision to hold him while the authorities decide whether to try him on other charges. They were disappointed, however, when a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that Demjanjuk must be readmitted to the United States while the American courts re-examine the orders that stripped him of his citizenship and extradited him to Israel.

In making its ruling, the U.S. appeals court agreed with Demjanjuk's defense attorneys that previous U.S. court proceedings were premised on the accusation that he was Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, precisely the charge of which he was acquitted by the Israeli high court. Jewish groups called on the Clinton administration to appeal the ruling.

"This is a terrible decision," said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "It has tremendous implications. It casts Holocaust survivors in the role of being aggressors and perpetrators as being victims. It's misplaced compassion.”

In the weeks before Demjanjuk's acquittal, Forward, a widely read New York Jewish newspaper, followed the case closely with stories implying that in the end the prosecution would prevail. It reported that Jewish groups had applauded a federal judge's finding that the U.S. Justice Department had not engaged in willful misconduct in its handling of the case, which goes back to the late 1970s. U.S. District Judge Thomas Wiseman Jr., appointed as a special master in the case, found that the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) committed no misconduct and used no fraud in the Demjanjuk case. But he also concluded that in evaluating the charges against Demjanjuk, OSI lacked skepticism and withheld exculpatory evidence from Demjanjuk's attorneys.

Wiseman nevertheless found that Demjanjuk's 1985 extradition to Israel was justified because there was sufficient evidence that Demjanjuk was trained as an SS guard. However, Wiseman acknowledged that there also was substantial evidence that Demjanjuk, 73, was not Ivan the Terrible of the Treblinka death camp. The only issue at trial in Israel was whether Demjanjuk was Ivan. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that there was a reasonable doubt about that.

Jewish organizations expressed satisfaction with Wiseman's finding. "We are pleased and not surprised," said AntiDefamation League national chairman Melvin Salberg and national director Abraham Foxman. "OSI deserves considerable credit for the success it has had through the years in identifying, denaturalizing and deporting Nazi war criminals who entered this country illegally." World Jewish Congress executive director Elan Steinberg said of the charge that investigators withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense that "Demjanjuk's lawyers owe an apology to the government.”

The defense will have a chance to rebut Wiseman's report in early September before a three-judge panel.

Forward reported intense concern by national Jewish organizations that federal Circuit Court Judge Gilbert Merritt, a member of the panel, has tilted toward the defense. "Concern was so intense," wrote Forward writer David Twersky, "that President Clinton removed Judge Merritt from a short list of nominees to the Supreme Court after three major Jewish groups protested his possible elevation.”

White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum had met with Merritt while he was under consideration for the Supreme Court. Protests about Merritt came from the Anti-Defamation League, World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Forward reported.

"The chief judge of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is accused of displaying an `insensitivity' to the Holocaust and harboring antipathy to the OSI," Twersky wrote of Merritt. It was Judge Merritt who reopened the Demjanjuk case last year.

Twersky pointed out that most of Judge Merritt's critics have insisted on anonymity. Those critics say that their concerns about Merritt began before his Demjanjuk decision. They were disturbed by his 1991 blocking of the deportation of an alleged Nazi slave-camp guard, Leonid Petkiewytsch, on grounds that he had not actually persecuted Jews, but merely assisted.

Merritt is also viewed with suspicion for having chosen not to return the Demjanjuk case to the judge who heard the denaturalization and extradition proceedings, Chief Judge Frank Battisti of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Since Battisti was most familiar with the matter, the critics said, he would be the natural choice to investigate the charge of misdeeds by the prosecution.

Twersky wrote that Merritt was said to have asked Battisti if a Vanity Fair article about the case had persuaded him of misconduct. Battisti said no and asked that he be allowed to review the case. Merritt, however, gave the task to Judge Wiseman, seemingly reversing an earlier Sixth Circuit judgment that "judicial economy is served" by choosing a judge familiar with the case.

The Forward reported that Merritt denies he had a conversation with Battisti before he appointed Wiseman. Battisti would not comment. Forward said "sources close to" Battisti called the appointment of Wiseman "ludicrous." (The selection of Wiseman was challenged and upheld by the Sixth Circuit.)
A Forward editorial written before the Israeli Supreme Court acquittal of Demjanjuk disputed the argument that the entire case hinged on the identification of Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka and that whatever he did at the Sobibor camp, where disputed documents have placed him, is irrelevant.

"The death sentence that was handed down by the lower courts is for the crimes at both camps," Forward editorialized. "Israel's indictment against John Demjanjuk covered his actions throughout the entire period of the Holocaust, during which time he was recruited to serve the SS and was trained at the Trawniki Camp as part of the Nazi's auxiliary force ... We now know from documentary evidence--including new evidence entered during the appeal--that Demjanjuk served at the Sobibor extermination camp ... To spare Demjanjuk, the high court would have to clear him of deeds at both Treblinka and Sobibor, or to find some technicality that requires a new proceeding." (The defense has labeled the Sobibor document a forgery, a position reinforced in August by an article in a German magazine.)
The editorial concluded, "A good deal has been made recently of the importance of Holocaust museums, including by President Clinton, but while there are still living Nazis guilty of war crimes, it is the courtroom that is required for justice. We feel sure the Israeli court understands this and will no doubt know what to do.”

The Israeli Supreme Court's 405-page ruling disagreed: "The main issue of the indictment sheet filed against the appellant was his identification as Ivan the Terrible, an operator of the gas chambers in the extermination camp at Treblinka ... By virtue of this gnawing [new evidence indicating mistaken identity] ... we restrained ourselves from convicting the appellant of the horrors of Treblinka. Ivan Demjanjuk has been acquitted by us, because of doubt, of the terrible charges attributed to Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka. This was the proper course for judges who cannot examine the heart and mind, but have only what their eyes see and read.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Richman, Sheldon
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Christianity and the Middle East: Church Women to Learn More About Palestinian Christians

Walz, L Humphrey. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 67.


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Christianity and the Middle East: Church Women to Learn More About Palestinian Christians
A major annual Christian ecumenical event is the World Day of Prayer on the first Friday of March. Each year church women of one pre-selected area--for 1994, it's Palestine--are asked to prepare the worship materials for translation into various languages for joint Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant services in many lands. The lives of the women and the work of the churches in the chosen area, in turn, are examined in appropriate periodicals and study guides.

In anticipation of the 1994 observance, Churchwoman, published by Church Women United, 475 Riverside Dr., #812, New York, NY 10115, already has initiated a related series. The current issue contains an article by Galilee- born Episcopalian Afaaf Habiby, editor of Oklahoma Church Women.

Her article addresses the question, "Who Are the Palestinian Christians?" They are, she points out, not recent converts, but "the descendants of an indigenous people who accepted Christ and professed their faith against adverse circumstances." She continues:

"The Palestinian church is living and faith-filled, seeking peace and justice for all the inhabitants of Palestine. Its members witness to their faith in Jesus Christ and Palestinian Christian women, in particular, actively participate in the volunteer work of their churches and other organizations such as the YWCA.

"They help meet the mounting spiritual and material needs of people who suffer from fear, anger, unemployment, humiliation and who are arbitrarily punished with imprisonment and even death. Palestinian Christian women have always participated in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.”

An adjacent article in the same issue is by Deena Hurwitz of the Resource Center for Nonviolence in Santa Cruz, CA. She writes:

"As a progressive Jew, I have something in common with Palestinian Christians. We are both on a certain level rendered invisible. Progressive Jews are left out of the "Jewish community," our perspectives and experiences uncounted, not legitimized because of our open criticism of Israel. And since in the West, Palestinians--indeed all Arabs--are perceived as Muslims and fundamentalists (read: terrorists) Palestinian Christians are neglected in a parallel way.

"But we also share something else: a refusal to be left out. We insist on being seen and heard, and our actions will make a difference. Taking part in a complex struggle means coming to terms with responsibility, and since every one of us deserves equal justice, every one of us must ensure that the `other' has access to it as well. Taking part in today's world requires a certain faith that whether or not we are successful, we consider the task a great personal challenge demanding thought, action and prayer.”

We have an added suggestion for increasing the influence of the 1994 World Day of Prayer preparations and follow through: Encourage your local Church Women United to subscribe to the English language MECC News Report, published by the Middle East Council of Churches, P. O. Box 4259, Limassol, Cyprus. Its ten lively, fact-packed issues a year will cost them $25.

Baptist Peace Advocate Corrects, Supplements U.S. Media
Explaining what compelled him to produce his fifth volume on the Balkans, Alex Dragnich prefaces his 1993 Serbs and Croats: The Struggle for Yugoslavia with his conviction that "journalism ... has been not only inadequate, but also often incorrect ... and highly misleading ... Other writers, equally ignorant of this history [have] repeated misinformation and questionable interpretations, and thus added to the confusion.”

Daniel L. Buttry, director of the American Baptist Peace Program, like many other knowledgeable observers of the Arab-Israeli scene, reflects similar compulsions to correct much of what passes in the West for news coverage of the Middle East. Now back home in Valley Forge, PA, after addressing the Baptist World Alliance leadership conference in Cyprus, Buttry brings to his denominational Peace Letter the fruits of his conversations with his Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, Egyptian and [Arab] Israeli co-religionists in Cyprus and Europe. Buttry writes:

"One Lebanese pastor told me about the destruction of his church and the church school. Syrian army units had taken them over to use as a headquarters. Both buildings were totally destroyed by Israeli aircraft using rockets made in the U.S. His congregation meets in a partially reconstructed area of the ruin, but the school which once served over 200 students is still closed.”

And in a single passage in his latest Peace Letter, he brings home the multiple injuries to Middle Eastern Christians that result from the politicized theologizing of certain American televangelists:

"The impact of Christian Zionism in the region has made the life of Baptists there especially tenuous. Most Baptists coming from the U.S. proclaim loudly that Israel's policies are part of the unfolding of God's plan for the end times, so Arab and particularly Palestinian Baptists frequently find unsympathetic ears among those with the same denominational label.

"At Bethlehem Bible College where I spoke in chapel, I was told that when the Palestinian evangelicals tell American Christians their stories of struggle and hardship under the Israeli occupation, the reply is that their theology is wrong. Such comforters were friends of Job! The Baptist World Alliance conference and my own speaking engagements in Israel and the West Bank were attempts to give an encouraging word and a presence of solidarity for sisters and brothers who live and witness to their faith in a very difficult context.”

Buttry concludes:

"The witness for justice and peace is being clearly made, but the weight of fear and hatred on both sides is depressingly heavy. Unless the opportunity for peace now is met with serious and substantial steps of good faith, the ground for compromise and conciliation will disappear as despair leads to another round of bloodshed and sorrow. Jesus still weeps over Jerusalem: `Would that today you knew the things that make for peace.'“

Buttry took time out to wear another hat: As his denomination's official non-governmental organization (NGO) representative at the U.N., he sought out members of the U.N. peacekeeping forces stationed in Cyprus. In a separate report, he describes their personal friendliness, courage, competence and effectiveness under severe budgetary limitations. (Funding is voluntary and comes from only half a dozen countries.)
Complexities stemming from the 1964 civil strife and 1974 Turkish invasion have produced many Security Council resolutions but no final solution in Cyprus. Yet the volunteer civilians, soldiers and police of the U.N. Force in Cyprus have kept things relatively stable for most of the last 39 years while they wait for a peace agreement between the Greek Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriots, backed up by Turkish soldiers occupying the northern third of the Mediterranean island. Their spokesperson, Polish diplomat Wademar Rekoszenski, and information officer Col. Richard Heaslip of Ireland gave him guides, for a half day each, from Austrian and British military personnel and police from Finland, Sweden, Australia and Ireland.

Barred Jerusalem Pastor Speaks Up in Exile
The summer issue of the international Baptist Peacemaker newspaper features a full-page article on the plight of the Palestinians. The author, United Methodist Rev. Alex Awad, is the Jerusalem-born U.S. citizen barred (as our June issue reported) by the Israelis from returning to his native city to serve its First Baptist Church as pastor. Now he informs Americans about the role their tax dollars play in financing Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights.

Rev. Awad writes:

"Today, the Palestinians are suffering no less than at any period in their history. All the talk about peace has not brought them any reprieve. Their land is still rapidly being confiscated to build settlements for Jewish immigrants.

"Their leaders continue to be deported without due process of law. Their water resources continue to be stolen and given to those who are robbing them of their land. Their refugee camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip continue to be assaulted by Israeli settlers and soldiers. Innocent men, women and children in refugee camps in South Lebanon are periodically and mercilessly targeted for bombardment by the Israeli air force.

"Frequent curfews, forced closings of educational institutions, travel restrictions and economic discrimination have all been used by the Israeli military government to pressure Palestinians to abandon their homeland. Despite such cruelties, which threaten the vision of their survival as a free and independent nation, the bulk of the Palestinian people and their leaders, both in occupied Palestine and in exile, have made a definite commitment ... in favor of nonviolent measures leading to peaceful coexistence with Israel.”

Awad expressed special appreciation for those Israelis who have consistently denounced the Israeli government's abuses of Palestinian human rights. Such Israelis call for an end to military occupation, advocate dialogue with the internationally recognized representatives of the Palestinian people (the PLO), and advocate a two-state solution in which Israel shares borders with an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, Reverend Awad believes, "the voices of the Jewish peace camp and the Palestinians will continue to echo aimlessly ... until the Christians in the West--and especially in the United States--take their moral and spiritual stand with those who still agonize and continue to struggle ... to influence politicians and governments to achieve a peace settlement that neither side would regard as too great a compromise.”

Lebanese Churches Plead for Chance for Reconstruction
For all of Lebanon's Christians, Muslims and Druze, the Israeli naval, ground and aerial bombardments of late July were frighteningly reminiscent of the 1982 invasion. The timing, however, was especially poignant for Lebanon's Synod of Catholic Bishops. The bombardment began barely a month after that body's adoption of an ambitious final "Outline for a Special Assembly on Spiritual Renewal." The study had been stimulated by Pope John Paul II and guided by Archbishop Jan Schotte, "in view of ... the reconstruction of the country after 16 years of war.”

Although the event is conceived as a Catholic one, the "Outline's" introduction recognizes the need for interfaith collaboration. Bluntly it states:

"To rediscover the profound roots of their faith and to liberate themselves from all obstacles to live Christ's message consistently and in an authentic manner is not something Catholics can do on their own. They have to walk together with the Orthodox churches and with the Protestant ecclesial communities. Together they carry the responsibility to be witnesses of the love of the Lord. Cooperation is necessary, too, with all other artisans of the reconstruction of Lebanon, in particular with the Muslims, in order to invite them to work together at the reconstruction of the country.”

That reconstruction has been inestimably set back by the renewed destruction, displacements and suffering resulting from indiscriminate Israeli bombings of Lebanese towns, villages and refugee camps in "reprisal" for the growing anti-Israeli violence of Hezbollah and other militias. Meanwhile the Catholics of Lebanon, along with all other members of the Middle East Council of Churches, stand by the MECC's July 28 "call upon the international community through the United Nations to put an end once and for all to such Israeli policy, and force [Israel] to resort to constructive dialogue for peace instead of war.”

Mercy Corps International, a conservative American Protestant group, adds a text from James 3:18 ("The harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace") to its related plea: "We urge that all parties to this present crisis be brought to the negotiating table under the authority of U.N. Resolution 425. We pray that the devastation of southern Lebanon will call forth a renewed commitment from all governments, including our own, to work for a just, durable, impartial and internationally accepted peace.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Walz, L Humphrey
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat

Killgore, Andrew I. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 69.


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Islamic Fundamentalism: The New Global Threat
"Hence loathed melancholy of
Cerberus and blackest midnight born
In Stygian caves forlorn.

Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks
And sights unholy.”

--From Il Penseroso by John Milton
English poet John Milton left little doubt about his extreme distaste for melancholy. A distaste just as strong is probably shared by most Americans toward the present Islamic-centered regime in Tehran. This is the government that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in Tehran from 1979 to 1981 in humiliating and increasingly dangerous conditions. As a leading Tehran editor recently put it, "You Americans will never forget [your bitterness over] the 52 hostages.”

Mohammad Mohaddessin, author of Islamic Fundamentalism and a leading official in the International Relations Department of the Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a major opposition group, seeks to replace the present Tehran regime with a democratic government. If any American needs convincing that this would be an improvement, this will be provided by the author's copiously footnoted accounts of brutality and corruption inside contemporary Iran, and Iranian government sponsorship of subversion and terrorism abroad.

In addition to its political-diplomatic arm, the Mojahedin organization fields a large anti-Tehran military force deployed on the Iraqi side of the Iran-Iraq border. Mohadessin's 15-chapter book makes an urgent case for the overthrow of what he persuasively describes as Iran's economically, politically and morally bankrupt regime before it can achieve an external success by setting up a spin-off Islamic republic in some other country. He fears that the changed situation in the Gulf following the two wars of 1980 to 1988 and 1990 and 1991, and the collapse of Russian power in the Muslim areas of the former Soviet Union, gives Tehran's ruling mullahs a dangerous new opportunity.

Although he titled his book Islamic Fundamentalism, author Mohaddessin concentrates almost exclusively on Iran and the fundamentalist regime established there in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and run today by President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Looking back to late 1978, it had become apparent to most observers that Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi would lose his throne and that Iran's Muslim clerics, the mullahs, would be the dominant force in any new regime. Those with Iran's best interests in mind hoped, however, that the mullahs, with no relevant experience, would not try to govern directly.

But the fear that, if they did, the mullahs would prove to be incompetent to govern soon became reality as the mullahs ruled, and ruined, their country. Citing hundreds of documented events, Mohaddessin depicts a real-life house of horrors in contemporary Iran. For example, of Iran's work force of 24 million, only 5 million are employed in its utterly devastated economy. Still, according to Mohaddessin, the regime is spending $50 billion on a five-year military buildup that began in 1989.

Islamic Fundamentalism describes the resulting chemical and nuclear plants, heightening the impression of a regime pursuing military power at all costs. The book cites a Peoples Mojahedin report that Iran has paid the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan for four nuclear warheads, but that they have not yet been delivered.

Not only are the mullahs ruling Iran directly, but they are doing so under the theory of Vali-E-Faqih, an ecclesiastical version of the long- discredited divine right of kings. This vests absolute power, both religious and temporal, in one man with supposedly extraordinary knowledge of Islamic law. Mohaddessin quotes high-ranking mullahs as saying that the regime's ultimate goal looks beyond Iran to worldwide authority.

Islamic Fundamentalism blames the Tehran regime for many of the Middle East's most heinous acts of terrorism, including the April 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut, which killed 61 and wounded 120 Lebanese and Americans, and the demolition of the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut Airport that killed 241 U.S. servicemen. The author also claims that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were "involved" in the 1988 explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 270 persons died.

Mohaddessin fears that Tehran's Islamic fundamentalism will prove more attractive to residents of the Muslim areas emerging from the former Soviet Union than pan-Turkism. To date, however, the Turkish language spoken in five of the six Muslim former Soviet Republics (except Tajikistan) combines with the thriving Turkish economy to draw all of the newly independent states away from Iran's economic stagnation.

There also will be debate about the real extent of what the subtitle of Mohaddessin's book calls "The New Global Threat." Physical and psychological misery in parts of the Islamic world provide an environment from which violence can emerge. But this "new global threat" is miniscule, in the reviewer's opinion, compared to the Cold War's "old global threat" of nuclear annihilation, despite Mohaddessin's effort to equate the two.

No outsider can guess at the chances of the Peoples Mojahedin succeeding to power in Tehran. Nor is it necessary to hazard an opinion on the group's future for purposes of reviewing this book by one of its leaders. Certainly the Mojahedin organization seems to be the best organized Iranian opposition group at this point. And it is easy to believe that one day the mullahs' regime will collapse or be pushed out of power. But when, or by whom, is unforeseeable.

Islamic Fundamentalism does not pretend to be a scholarly tome. Rather, it is a sustained attack by one group of well-educated, energetic and dedicated Iranians against what they regard, with good reason, as an unqualified and unworthy ruling group in Tehran. Those rulers, however, seem equally dedicated and genuinely obsessed with the values and ideology of fundamentalist Islam.

Still, whether members of the present regime or its Peoples Mojahadin rival, all are Iranians who share certain basic assumptions. Although its effectiveness is questionable and its tactics are unacceptable, even to other Islamic nations, the Rafsanjani regime is a thrusting, driving force in the world. The government of the late shah also was prepared to apply police state coerciveness to its people at home in order to push Iran's influence outward. The same very likely will be true of whatever government succeeds to power in Tehran.

Iran, as the largest country in a region containing between 60 and 70 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, was, is, and will remain extremely important. Any book written by an insider concerning Iran's current instability is important in itself, and this one should be read by those who wish to understand Mideast affairs.

Despicable tactics by the present Tehran regime aside, a challenge for readers who know the country will be to sort out what portion of Iran's present assertiveness abroad can be ascribed to its current absorption with religious fundamentalism, and what portion stems from the timeless preoccupation with Iranian "mission" which motivated the shah, and which, after the mullahs recede into history, almost certainly will motivate their successors, whoever they may be.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Book cover, Islamic Fundamentalism)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Killgore, Andrew I
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Arabian Jazz

Grant, Jean. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 70.


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Arabian Jazz
In Arabian Jazz, her engaging first novel, Diana Abu-Jaber gives us an Arab-American family living in upstate New York: Matussem Ramoud and his two daughters, Jemorah, 29, and Melvina, 22. Twenty years earlier their American mother, Nora, died of typhus during a visit to Jordan--on purpose to make Arabs look bad," claims Aunt Fatima. A loving, loyal busybody, Fatima aims to marry off her nieces. Dressy and bossy, with a beehive hairdo and nails of Dragon Lady red, she sings happily in Arabic about the woman who washes her husband's feet.

For such a funny book, Arabian Jazz covers a lot of serious ground. The girls are haunted by their mother's death. As if fulfilling a dictate of fate, the iron-willed Melvina becomes a nurse. She wears her nurse's cap "like a tiara." Jemorah drifts. She's 29, "marriage-emergency" time according to Aunt Fatima. But the home Jemorah wants is not with a man, but the one she lost when her mother died.

As for the girls' father, he turns to his drums much as Arabs still do throughout much of the Arab world. "You needed drums, Matussem knew, like bodies needed hearts, the muscle to keep things going." But he slaps the drums to a new beat, the jazz beat of America.

Some of the novel's best moments show the older generation's prickly sensitivity and easy pride. "Americans had the money, but Arabs, ah! They had the food, the culture, the etiquette, the ways of being and seeing and understanding how life was meant to be lived," says Aunt Fatima.

The Ramouds' neighbors--"poor, white" stick figures who weaken her novel by distracting from the plot--seem all the more dysfunctional when set against the tight-knit Ramoud family.

At the heart of this book is a celebration of Arab-American idealism and determination to succeed while maintaining their family ties and traditions of hospitality and generosity. It's a blend of pathos and humor, and it's easy to laugh at the rich relatives who flit in from the "old country" to use the States for their amusement and find themselves outwitted.

Much of the dialogue of the older characters is to standard English as scatting is to melody. At first this is irritating. Yet by the time Matussem returns after the absence of a few chapters (he's been in Jordan), you welcome his "Don't try to bamboozle me, Melvie, you heart picker.”

With his jazz standards, slang and lawn ornaments, Matussem tries hard to be American. But their Arab heritage makes his daughters vulnerable.

As a child, Jemorah is taunted on the school bus for her "strange name and darker skin." She cringes as the bus approaches the mailbox on which Matussem has painted their name RAMOUD "four inches high in bright red." Later, she says, "It's not enough to be born here, or to live here, or speak the language. You've got to seem right.”

Yet there are advantages to being hybrid. "You get two looks at a world," says the cousin Jemorah may eventually marry. "You may never have a perfect fit, but you see far more than most ever do.”

Arabian Jazz clearly presents the anti-Arab bias in the United States. More importantly, Abu-Jaber shows this bias is unmerited, for her very likeable Arab-American characters are far more worthy of respect than their unhyphenated American neighbors. Abu-Jaber's novel will probably do more to convince readers to abandon what media analyst Jack Shaheen calls America's "abhorrence of the Arab" than any number of speeches or publicity gambits.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Book cover, Arabian Jazz)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Grant, Jean
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Archeology: Geneticists Trace Migration of Mideast Agriculturalists to Europe

Holden, Kurt. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 81.


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Archeology: Geneticists Trace Migration of Mideast Agriculturalists to Europe
"[Dr. Cavalli-Sforzal finds that after the introduction of agriculture in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago, farmers form there spread at the rate of one kilometer, or five-eighths of a mile, a year, eventually settling throughout Europe.”

--Louise Levathes, New York Times July 27, 1993
The world generally credits the Sumerians, who lived in the marshlands created by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in southern Iraq, with the development of civilization. Although nearly contemporary river valley civilizations also developed in the Nile Valley of Egypt and the Indus Valley of Pakistan, the Sumerians seem to have been the first people to live in cities and to create a system of writing.

Scientists also regard the "fertile crescent," an arc linking Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel/Palestine, as the site of the earlier "neolithic revolution," when hunter-gatherers first learned to plant crops, and then created permanent settlements to cultivate, guard and harvest them. The evidence is the fact that wild ancestors of the food crops associated with traditional Middle Eastern and European agriculture are native to the fertile crescent.

Pinpointing the Birth of Agriculture
Now archeologists maintain they have pinpointed the time agriculture was born to just over 10,000 years ago, and the place to within a 100-mile radius of the Dead Sea, between present-day Jordan and Israel. Meanwhile, from unrelated studies, some biological scientists conclude that the agricultural technology developed in that period subsequently spread from the Middle East to northernmost and westernmost Europe not through cultural diffusion, but through actual migrations of the Middle Eastern people who developed it.

According to these scientists, who have examined the genetic makeup of modern populations throughout Europe, agricultural people spread from Turkey as far afield as Finland, Sweden and Ireland, intermarrying with the less numerous hunter-gathering clans they found occupying those lands in a migration that continued for some 6,000 years.

Dr. Frank Hole, an archeologist, and Joy McCoriston, an archeobotanist, both of Yale University, described in American Anthropology in March of 1991 the circumstances under which they believe agriculture was born. Starting around 12,000 BC, they wrote, the summertime climate in the Levant became increasingly hot and dry, reducing the supply of wild game and vegetation and drying up the small lakes upon which foraging people, who already were familiar with wild grain, had depended for water.

Core samples from the ancient lakes indicate the change in climate caused a shift toward Mediterranean-type vegetation, with leathery, water-retaining leaves. Annual grasses, which complete their life cycle in the spring with large seeds in hard cases that will endure through a dry season to germinate with the return of moisture, increasingly replaced perennial vegetation.

The time of this change represented a "convergence" of historical accidents, according to Dr. Hole. "People are ready, they have technology adapted to plant foods," he explained. "The plants themselves are proliferating. And the climate requires people to overcome long periods when foods are not available.”

No such earlier convergence has been found elsewhere, according to the Yale scientists, who focused their study upon people of the Natufian culture, named after an archeological site in present-day Palestine called Wadi Al- Natuf. At the time of the climate change, the Natufians had developed the flint sickles and stone mortars and pestles needed to harvest and process wild grains and, based upon the seashell badges of rank found in their tombs, had a developed social structure.

They built stone houses and, the two scientists suspect, it was they who exploited a genetic mutation that occurred within the area's wild einkorn wheat as they began to plant and harvest it. In the wild, most of the wheat stalks shed their grains separately, which made them difficult to collect. Just over 10,000 years ago, however, a mutation had occurred that caused grains in a tiny percentage of the wheat to become fatter and stick more tenaciously to the stalk. The Natufians apparently saved for replanting a portion of the seeds they harvested, and, because the intact heads were less likely to be lost in the fields and more likely to be collected by the Natufians, each year an increasing percentage of the wheat planted was of the new and more nutritious variety.

No such domesticated seeds have yet been found in Natufian sites. Carbonized remains of domesticated grains have been recovered, however, from settlements inhabited by the immediate successors, and biological descendants, of the Natufians. Based upon mathematical calculations, scientists believe the change from wild einkorn wheat to the domestic variety could have been accomplished quite naturally by an agricultural people in as few as 22 years. Hole and McCoristan say the evidence points to the Natufians as the people who carried out this revolution.

Not only did the Natufians begin to live in well-constructed stone houses, but scattered hunting camps they formerly maintained for brief occupancy disappear from the archeological record. The record also shows, right after the end of the Natufian culture, the rapid spread not only of domesticated wheat, but also of barley, peas and beans. Scientists estimate that this first agricultural revolution spread northward into Turkey and Mesopotamia at the rate of about one kilometer per year. Animals were domesticated about 1,000 years later.

This theory of the exact time and place of the domestication of plants is, however, still disputed, as is another relatively new theory that the agriculturalists carried the new techniques of agriculture with them as they multiplied and spread out from the scene of its invention. This hypothesis questions the earlier and still widely held theory of cultural diffusion, whereby neighboring hunter-gatherer clans would observe what the agriculturalists were doing, and then adopt the techniques themselves.

Early Farmers and the Spread of Languages
The cultural diffusion theory was sharply challenged by the publication in May 1991 in the British journal Nature of an analysis of the genetic make-up of people at some 3,300 sites across Europe. The analysis was undertaken by Dr. Robert R. Sokal, Dr. Neal L. Oden and Chester Wilson of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. It established that, progressing from southern Turkey, near where agriculture originated, toward northern Europe, certain genes become scarcer in the human populations.

These results support the theory that as an original population pressed outward, intermarrying with hunter-gatherer populations in its path, its original genes were only gradually diluted. The present-day biological gradient also correlates with what is known of the spread of agriculture, whose routes and timing have been established from the archeological record.

This record indicates agriculture being practiced in eastern and central Turkey around 10,500 years ago, in western Turkey between 7,500 and 8,000 years ago, in southern Europe between 7,000 and 7,500 years ago, Central Europe 6,000 to 6,500 years ago, France and north Germany 5,500 to 6,000 years ago, Sweden and Russia 5,000 to 5,500 years ago, and in the British Isles and Finland between 4,500 and 5,000 years ago.

The hypothesis that genetic and cultural change moved in tandem from the Middle East through the Balkans as agriculture enabled populations to increase and forced them to seek new land was first proposed several years ago by Dr. Luca L. Cavalli-Sforza and Dr. Robert J. Ammerman at Stanford University. They argued that agriculture was transmitted by the physical movement of people, not by the exchange of information.

Dr. Colin Renfrew, an archeologist at Cambridge University in England, seized upon this hypothesis for his own theory that Indo-European languages were not spread throughout Europe, Iran and northern India by successive waves of warlike conquerors from the area of the presentday Ukraine, but evolved from the language carried with the agriculturalists.

This association of Indo-European languages with advancing agricultural people from the Middle East is hotly disputed, however. Archeologist Marija Gimbutas of the University of California at Los Angeles, an exponent of the belief that the Indo-Europeans were conquerers, disputes the idea that their language may have been spread by agricultural migration.

"It is more complicated than that," Dr. Gimbutas maintains. In some areas of Spain and France as well as in parts of Eastern Europe, she says, farming was successfully transmitted without migration of the farmers themselves. She therefore finds Dr. Renfrew's hypothesis on the spread of Indo-European languages "not acceptable.”

In fact, it is the theories of Cavalli-Sforza and Gimbutas that are easily reconciled. The former believes that the sole direct survivors of the agriculturalists who started spreading from the Middle East 10,000 years ago are the Basques of south-western France and adjacent areas of Spain. Their language is unrelated to any other spoken in Europe.

This clears the field for Dr. Gimbutas' hypothesis that between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago, horsemen migrated very rapidly out of the steppes of southwestern Russia, spreading their Kurgan culture and the original Indo- European language across a Europe already occupied by the remnants of hunter- gatherers and by the Middle Eastern agriculturalists who had largely replaced them.

Dr. Cavalli-Sforza's genetic survey supports this incursion. "We discovered an area of population expansion that almost perfectly matched Gimbutas' projection for the center of Kurgan culture," he explains.

Commenting imaginatively in Nature on the agricultural migration model of Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza, Dr. J. S. Jones of University College, London, writes that the impact of the migrations of ever-increasing agricultural people on the hunter-gatherers who were in their path must have resembled "a process of gentrification--or even yuppification--from the east." The evidence gathered by evolutionary biologist Sokal and his colleagues, however, indicates that the hunter-gatherers who survived the meeting of cultures were absorbed into the advancing population of farmers. These studies, Jones writes, demonstrate that in their biological make-up modern Europeans "still reflect the migrations of ancient farmers who spread from the Middle East.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Map (Agricultural migration in Europe)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Holden, Kurt
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Middle East History - It Happened in September: The U.S. Cast the First of 29 Security Council Vetoes to Shield Israel

Neff, Donald. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 82.


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Middle East History--It Happened in September: The U.S. Cast the First of 29 Security Council Vetoes to Shield Israel
The United States cast its first veto in the United Nations Security Council in 1970, during the presidency of Richard Nixon, when Henry Kissinger was the national security adviser. It was an historic moment, since up to that time Washington had been able to score heavy propaganda points because of the Soviet Union's profligate use of its veto. The first U.S. veto in history was a gesture of support for Britain, which was under Security Council pressure to end the white minority government in southern Rhodesia.

Two years later, however, on Sept. 10, 1972, the United States employed its veto for the second time--to shield Israel.(1) That veto, as it turned out, signalled the start of a cynical policy to use the U.S. veto repeatedly to shield Israel from international criticism, censure and sanctions.

Before this practice stopped 18 years later, Washington used its veto 29 times to shield Israel from critical draft resolutions. This constituted nearly half of the total of 69 U.S. vetoes cast since the founding of the U.N. The Soviet Union cast 115 vetoes during the same period.(2)
The initial 1972 veto to protect Israel was cast by George Bush in his capacity as U.S. ambassador to the world body. Ironically, it was Bush as president who stopped the use of the veto to shield Israel 18 years later. The last such veto was cast on May 31, 1990, killing a resolution approved by all 14 other council members to send a U.N. mission to study Israeli abuses of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

The rationale for casting the first veto to protect Israel was explained by Bush at the time as a new policy to combat terrorists. The draft resolution had condemned Israel's heavy air attacks against Lebanon and Syria, starting Sept. 6, the day after 11 Israeli athletes were killed at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in an abortive Palestinian attempt to seize them as hostages to trade for Palestinians in Israeli prisons.(3) Between 200 and 500 Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the Israeli raids.(4)
Nonetheless, Bush complained that the resolution had failed to condemn terrorist attacks against Israel, adding: "We are implementing a new policy that is much broader than that of the question of Israel and the Jews. What is involved is the problem of terrorism, a matter that goes right to the heart of our civilized life."(5)
Unfortunately, this "policy" proved to be only a rationale for protecting Israel from censure for violating a broad range of international laws. This became very clear when the next U.S. veto was cast a year later, on July 26, 1973. It had nothing to do with terrorism. The draft resolution affirmed the rights of the Palestinians and established provisions for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories as embodied in previous General Assembly resolutions. (6) Nonetheless, Washington killed this international effort to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.

The all-time abuser of the veto was the administration of Ronald Reagan.

Washington used the veto four more times in 1975-76 while Henry Kissinger was secretary of state. One of these vetoes arguably may have involved terrorism, since the draft condemned Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians in response to attacks on Israel. But the three other vetoes had nothing at all to do with terrorism.

One, in fact, struck down a draft resolution that reflected U.S. policy against Israel's alteration of the status of Jerusalem and establishment of Jewish settlements in occupied territory. Only two days earlier, U.S. Ambassador William W. Scranton had given a speech in the United Nations calling Israeli settlements illegal and rejecting Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem.(7) Yet on March 25, 1976, the U.S. vetoed a resolution reflecting Scranton's positions which had been passed unanimously by the other 14 members of the council.(8)
The two other vetoes during Kissinger's reign also were cast in 1976. One, on Jan. 26, killed a draft resolution calling for recognition of the right of self-determination for Palestinians. The other, on June 29, called for affirmation of the "inalienable rights" of the Palestinians.(9)
The Carter administration cast only one veto. But it had nothing to do with terrorism. It came on April 30, 1980, killing a draft that endorsed self- determination for the Palestinian people.(10)
The all-time abuser of the veto was the administration of Ronald Reagan, the most pro-Israel presidency in U.S. history, with the most pro-Israel secretary of state, George Shultz, since Kissinger. The Reagan team cynically invoked the veto 18 times to protect Israel. A record six of these vetoes were cast in 1982 alone. Nine of the Reagan vetoes resulted directly from Security Council attempts to condemn Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and Israel's refusal to surrender the territory in southern Lebanon which it still occupies today. The other nine vetoes shielded Israel from council criticism for such illicit acts as the Feb. 4, 1986, skyjacking of a Libyan plane.(11)
Illicit Skyjacking or "Self-Defense"?

Israeli warplanes forced the executive jet to land in Israel, allegedly in an effort to capture Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal. He was not aboard and, after interrogation, the passengers were allowed to leave.(12) The U.S. delegate explained that this act of piracy was excusable "because we believe that the ability to take such action in carefully defined and limited circumstances is an aspect of the inherent right of self-defense recognized in the U.N. Charter."(13)
Other vetoes employed on Israel's exclusive behalf included the Jan. 20, 1982 killing of a demand that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights it had occupied in 1967(14); the April 20, 1982 condemnation of an Israeli soldier who shot 11 Muslim worshippers at the Haram Al-Sharif in the Old City of Jerusalem(15); the Feb. 1, 1988 call for Israel to stop violating Palestinian human rights in the occupied territories, abide by the Fourth Geneva Convention and formalize a leading role for the United Nations in future peace negotiations(16); the April 15, 1988 resolution requesting that Israel permit the return of expelled Palestinians, condemning Israel's shooting of civilians, calling on Israel to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention and calling for a peace settlement under U.N. auspices.(17)
The Bush administration used the veto four times to protect Israel: on Feb. 17, 1989, to kill a draft strongly deploring Israel's repression of the Palestinian uprising and calling on Israel to respect the human rights of the Palestinians(18); on June 9, 1989, deploring Israel's violation of the human rights of the Palestinians(19); on Nov. 7, 1989, demanding Israel return property confiscated from Palestinians during a tax protest and calling on Israel to allow a fact-finding mission to observe Israel's suppression tactics against the Palestinian uprising(20); and, finally, on May 31, 1990, calling for a fact-finding mission on abuses against Palestinians in Israeli-occupied lands.(21)
The May 31, 1990 veto was the last, presumably, as the result of a secret understanding, if not an official agreement, with Russia and the three other Security Council members with veto power. By then it had become obvious that the council could not be effective in a post-Cold War world if Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States recklessly invoked their vetoes.

Moreover, the international alliances sought by Washington to repel Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 made it necessary for the Bush administration to retain unity in the Security Council. As a result, instead of abstaining on or vetoing resolutions critical of Israel, as it did in 1989 and the first half of 1990, the Bush administration abruptly joined other members in late 1990, 1991 and 1992 in passing six resolutions deploring or strongly condemning Israel's conduct against the Palestinians.(22)

These resolutions brought the total passed by the council against Israel since its birth to 68. If the United States had not invoked its veto, the record against Israel would now total 97 resolutions condemning or otherwise criticizing its behavior or supporting the rights of Palestinians.

Recommended Reading:

Cooley, John, Green March, Black September: The Story of the Palestinian Arabs, London, Frank Cass, 1973.

Hart, Alan, Arafat: Terrorist or Peacemaker? London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985.

Hirst, David, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977.

Khouri, Fred, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, 3rd ed., Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1985.

Livingstone, Neil C. and David Halevy, Inside the PLO: Secret Units, Secret Funds, and the War Against Israel and the United States, New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990.

Nakhleh, Issa, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, 2 vols., NY: Intercontinental Books, 1991.

Neff, Donald, Warriors Against Israel: How Israel Won the Battle to Become America's Ally, Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books, 1988.

U.S. State Department, America's Foreign Policy Current Documents 1986, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987.

NOTES:

(1.) Robert Alden, New York Times, Sept. 12, 1972; and U.S. U.N. Mission, "List of Vetoes Cast in Public Meetings of the Security Council," Aug. 4, 1986. Also Neff, Warriors Against Israel, p. 96.

(2.) A complete list of the vetoes was printed in Donald Neff, "Vetoes Cast by the United States to Shield Israel from Criticism by the U.N. Security Council," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 1993.

(3.) Cooley, Green March, Black September, pp. 125-28; Arafat, pp. 350-53; and Livingstone and Halevy, Inside the PLO, p. 39 and pp. 104-5.

(4.) Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch, p. 251. Also see Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, pp. 450, 790 and 824.

(5.) Robert Alden, New York Times, Sept. 12, 1972. The source was identified as a key member of the American delegation but internal indications in the story strongly suggest the "key member" was Ambassador Bush.

(6.) New York Times, July 27, 1973.

(7.) New York Times, March 25, 1976.

(8.) Text of the draft resolutions is in New York Times, Jan. 27, 1976. Also see U.S. U.N. Mission, "List of Vetoes Cast in Public Meetings of the Security Council," and Khouri, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, p. 382.

????(9.)
????(10.)
(11.) U.S. U.N. Mission, "List of Vetoes Cast in Public Meetings of the Security Council," Aug. 4, 1986.

(12.) New York Times, Feb. 7, 1986.

(13.) U.S. State Department, American Foreign Policy Current Documents 1986, p. 374.

(14.) U.S. U.N. Mission, "List of Vetoes Cast in Public Meetings of the Security Council," Aug. 4, 1986.

(15.) New York Times, April 21, 1982.

(16.) Michael J. Berlin, Washington Post, Feb. 2, 1988.

(17.) New York Times, April 16, 1988.

(18.) Paul Lewis, New York Times, Feb. 18, 1989.

(19.) New York Times, June 10, 1989.

(20.) Associated Press, #V0511, Nov. 7, 1989, and Nakhleh, Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem, p. 778. Nakhleh has the text of the resolution draft as well as excerpts from the discussion by several delegates and opinions by lawyers and columnist Anthony Lewis.

(21.) Associated Press, #VO498, 09:50 EDT, June 1, 1990.

(22.) The resolutions are #672 of Oct. 12, 1990; #673 of Oct. 24, 1990; #681 of Dec. 20, 1990; #694 of May 24, 1991; #726 of Jan. 6, 1992; and #799 of Dec. 18, 1992.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Neff, Donald
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Middle East History - It Happened in October: With Vanunu Revelations, World Learned Israel Had Nuclear Weapons

Neff, Donald. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 83.


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Middle East History--It Happened in October: With Vanunu Revelations, World Learned Israel Had Nuclear Weapons
It was seven years ago, on Oct. 5, 1986, when the Sunday Times of London reported that Israel was a nuclear superpower. The tiny country had in its possession "at least 100 and as many as 200 nuclear weapons," making it a nuclear power rivaling Britain, China and France. The story said Israel had been producing the weapons at Dimona in the Negev Desert for 20 years.(1)
The Sunday Times article was based on the testimony of a disaffected Israeli nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, 31. He had worked at Dimona for 10 years before he became disillusioned by Israel's nuclear policy and, after living in Australia, went to England to tell his story. Although it had long been speculated that Israel had a nuclear arsenal, Vanunu revealed details of Israel's nuclear program never before made public. He provided the Sunday Times with a cross-section drawing of the entire Dimona underground nuclear complex and photographs Vanunu said he had secretly taken of the control room. Vanunu said bombs were assembled in an underground complex called Machon 2 that extended six stories beneath the ground under a two-story building.

Vanunu's details were so convincing that nuclear experts pronounced themselves satisfied as to his accuracy. Frank Barnaby, former director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and physicist at Britain's Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, said Vanunu's evidence convinced him that Israel had both fission and fusion weapons.(2)
Vanunu was later lured from Britain to Rome by an American blonde Mossad agent named "Cindy" and kidnapped back to Israel aboard a ship in the fall of 1986.(3) On Nov. 9, 1986, Israel admitted Vanunu was a prisoner in Israel. But it has refused ever since to say how he had been brought there.(4) On March 24, 1988, after a seven-month trial closed to the public, he was found guilty of espionage and treason and sentenced to 18 years in prison.(5)
A later book, Triple Cross: Israel, the Atomic Bomb and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets by Louis Toscano, claimed Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir proposed assassinating Vanunu but was turned down by Prime Minister Shimon Peres. Instead, Peres saw disclosure of the nuclear information as delivering a forceful deterrent to the Arabs without Israel having to publicly admit possession of such weapons. The book claimed Peres ordered Vanunu's kidnapping.

Vanunu today remains in a cramped cell in solitary confinement, where he has been kept since his apprehension seven years ago. His family fears Israeli authorities may be trying to drive him insane so that when his sentence expires he can be transferred directly to an asylum and his comments could be discounted as those of a lunatic. There are indications Israel has employed this inhumane technique in the past to discredit other Israeli dissidents.(6)
Israel has done everything it could to hide its nuclear program.

While the general public may have found Vanunu's revelations sensational, they were not news to the CIA or American leaders. As early as 1968, the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Israel possessed nuclear weapons. According to records of a 1976 classified briefing given by Carl Duckett, the CIA's deputy director for science and technology from 1967 to 1976, the agency informed President Johnson of this in early 1968. Johnson's response was to order the CIA not to inform any other members of the administration, including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk.(7)
In 1978, another CIA document on Israel's nuclear program became public. This one was a Sept. 14, 1974 five-page report that said: "We believe that Israel already has produced nuclear weapons." It said its conclusion was "based on Israeli acquisition of large quantities of uranium, partly by clandestine means." Other evidence cited by the CIA for its belief that Israel was producing nuclear weapons included "the ambiguous nature of Israeli efforts in the field of uranium enrichment, and Israel's large investment in a costly missile system designed to accommodate nuclear warheads."(8)
Over the years Israel has done everything it could to mislead or hide from the United States its nuclear program. When questions first arose in 1960, Israel claimed the Dimona nuclear plant was a textile mill. Later that year it had to admit the nuclear nature of the plant but insisted that it was devoted to peaceful research. On Dec. 19, 1960, the State Department announced it had received assurances that "Israel has no intention of producing nuclear weapons and that its [nuclear] program is concerned exclusively with the peaceful uses of atomic energy."(9)
Early U.S. Suspicions
Despite Israeli denials and Washington's public acceptance of them, informed American officials suspected even then that Israel was embarked on a major nuclear weapons program. Early in 1961, Sen. Bourke Hickenlooper exploded at a secret session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"I think the Israelis have just lied to us like horse thieves on this thing. They have completely distorted, misrepresented and falsified the facts in the past. I think it is very serious, for things that we have done for them to have them perform in this manner in connection with this very definite production reactor facility [meaning it was specifically designed to produce plutonium] which they have been secretly building, and which they have consistently, and with a completely straight face, denied to us they were building."(10)
Although Israel continued to insist the Dimona plant was dedicated to peaceful research, it refused repeated urgings by the United States to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty or accept IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.(11) To this day it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty or allowed free inspection of its Dimona facilities by the United States. Between 1963 and 1969, American scientists were allowed to make limited inspections, but they halted when the scientists reported they were so severely constrained by Israeli authorities that they could not certify there were no bombs being made at Dimona. In fact, reported investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, the Israelis went to the extent of building a false control room in Dimona to mislead the U.S. inspectors.(12)
Despite such actions, it was an open secret in Washington well before Vanunu's revelations that Israel had the bomb.(13) In fact, two legislators, Democratic Representatives Stephen J. Solarz and Jonathan
B. Bingham, both of New York, dropped their amendment to ban U.S. aid to countries manufacturing nuclear weapons after admitting they were afraid it would affect Israel. Their action followed a private briefing by Under Secretary of State James L. Buckley on Dec. 8, 1981.

"We didn't want to find ourselves in a position where we had inadvertently and gratuitously created a situation that might lead to a cutoff of aid for Israel," Solarz said. "They left us with the impression that such a requirement might well trigger a finding by the administration that Israel has manufactured a bomb."(14)
Recommended Reading:

Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin, The Israeli Connection, New York: Pantheon Books, 1987.

Cervenka, Zdenck, and Barbara Rogers, The Nuclear Axis, New York: Times Books, 1978.

Cockburn, Andrew and Leslie, Dangerous Liaison, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.

Findley, Paul, Deliberate Deceptions, Brooklyn, NY: Lawrence Hill Books, 1993.

Gaffney, Mark, Dimona: The Third Temple? Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books, 1989.

Hersh, Seymour, The Samson Option, New York: Random House, 1991.

Jabber, Fuad, Israel and Nuclear Weapons, London: Chatto and Windus, 1971.

Spector, Leonard S., Nuclear Proliferation Today, New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Weissman, Steve and Herbert Krosney, The Islamic Bomb, New York: Times Books, 1981.

Notes:

(1.) Sunday Times of London, Oct. 5, 1986.

(2.) Frank Barnaby, "The Nuclear Arsenal in the Middle East," Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 1987, pp. 98-99, p. 102.

(3.) Glenn Frankel, Washington Post, Oct. 29, 1986, March 24, 1988. The CBS-TV program "Sixty Minutes" had an excellent report on March 27, 1988 on how Vanunu was kidnapped. Also see Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, pp. 94-96; Hersh, The Samson Option, pp. 307-315; Raviv and Melman, Every Spy a Prince, pp. 360-372.

(4.) Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times, Oct. 10, 1986.

(5.) Glenn Frankel, Washington Post, March 25, 1986.

(6.) Ian Williams, "A Tale of Two Spies," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July/August 1993.

(7.) Washington Post, March 2, 1978; David Burnham, New York Times, March 2, 1978.

(8.) New York Times, June 25, 1981. The document was released under a Freedom of Information Act request; the CIA later said the release had been a "mistake.”

(9.) Dana Adams Schmidt, New York Times, Dec. 22, 1960; State Department, American Foreign Policy 1960, "Statement Issued by the Department of State, Dec. 19, 1960," p. 501.

(10.) Spector, Nuclear Proliferation, p. 121.

(11.) Ibid., p. 126. Also see Beit-Hallahmi, The Israeli Connection, pp. 129-136; Cockburn, Dangerous Liaison, pp. 86-92.

(12.) Hersh, The Samson Option, pp. 111, 210-211.

(13.) See, for instance, Robert Manning and Stephen Talbot, "American Cover-Up on Israeli Bomb," The Middle East, June 1980; Ali A. Mazrui et al, "Study on Israeli Nuclear Disarmament," United Nations Publication, 1982; Gary Milhollin, "Israel's Nuclear Shadow," Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, University of Wisconsin, Nov. 10, 1986.

(14.) Judith Miller, New York Times, Dec. 9, 1981.

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Author Neff, Donald
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Trade and Finance: The U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement; Aid Instead of Trade?


MacKinnon, Colin. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  3 (Oct 31, 1993): 85.


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Trade and Finance: The U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement; Aid Instead of Trade?

Much ballyhooed when it was under negotiation in the early 1980s, the U.S.-Israel Free Trade Area Agreement is showing its defects after eight years of operation. How the agreement is working--or not working--raises real questions about whether an economy like Israel's, which is small, troubled and has a persistent state component, can be linked up in a genuine free trade area with the largest economy on earth.

A friendly Reagan administration negotiated the agreement, supposedly as a way of weaning Israel away from reliance on U.S. financial support. That notion was backed up with wishful studies from conservative think tanks such as the consistently pro-Israel Heritage Foundation, which made "trade instead of aid" the slogan of the campaign.

Some slogan. The agreement, which went into effect on Sept. 1, 1985, has had no discernable effect on the level of American aid to Israel. In fact, by eliminating U.S. tariffs while permitting a whole range of Israeli non-tariff barriers, the treaty is turning out to be just another form of U.S. aid to Israel.

And not a very honest one. Its effects are hard to see and, because they occur in the private sector, they don't show up on government books. But they're there.

The idea behind free trade agreements is that they increase international commerce by dropping administrative barriers like tariffs between the countries that sign them.* Typically, too, these agreements contain "national origin" requirements. That is, for goods to get the benefits of the treaty, they have to meet complicated tests showing they really and truly are from a signing country, not just transshipped through it.

The U.S.-Israel FTA is reasonably typical. It does, for example, phase out tariffs--they're to be gone by mid-1995--and has reasonable and enforceable rules of origin.

But it allows other restrictive devices, of which Israel makes use, and doesn't address Israel's own domestic practices, which have the effect of favoring Israeli over American producers.

Loophole--or Barn Door--in the Agreement
The main loophole in the agreement is an article covering agricultural products that allows each party to set up a whole range of bans, quotas, licensing restrictions and other barriers to the flow of agricultural trade. Israel takes full advantage of the loophole; the U.S. does not.

Thus, Israel maintains a complete ban on poultry, dairy products, eggs, most fresh and prepared vegetables, most fresh fruit, and prepared products like olive oil, apple juice, and grape juice. Israel also maintains quotas that keep out large quantities of items ranging from lamb, sheep, and fish to raisins and prunes.

To be sure, the U.S. also bans or limits some imports, for example, sugar, dairy products and peanuts. But none of these are important Israeli exports and banning them doesn't disrupt, at least not in a major way, Israeli sales to the U.S.

The agreement establishes a Joint Committee of Israelis and Americans who meet twice a year to thrash out problems. The agriculture loophole is a continual hassle. One involved U.S. official says negotiators "are having a terrible time" with the Israelis over the issue.

The Real Problem: Israeli Domestic Practices
The real problem, though, is not so much loopholes in the agreement as Israeli domestic practices that the agreement doesn't touch on and that favor Israeli producers. Here are some examples and how they work.

* TAMA. The Israelis evaluate the cost of an import in order to put a later purchase tax on it. The practice is called TAMA, an acronym for a Hebrew phrase meaning "additional rate of increase.”

The price Israeli officials use, however, is not the price at the dock but a wholesale price they simply dream up. They can, and often do, set the assumed wholesale price at double the dock price. Since the purchase tax is typically 100 percent of wholesale, the markup on imported goods can be extraordinary.

An American widget coming into Israel with a dockside price of, say, $100 might be assumed to have a wholesale price of $200. The tax on the widget therefore--not officially a tariff, mind you--would then be $200, raising the wholesale price to at least $300.

The Israelis put a purchase tax on Israeli products, too, but U.S. officials complain that the Israelis use "untransparent" (bureaucratese for "secret") methods for doing so. "It's not at all apparent how they do that," says one, "and we have concerns that local products end up being taxed much more lightly than imported products.”

The Israeli markup on imported goods can be extraordinary.

* Harama. To calculate customs duties, Israeli officials take a look at the sticker prices of products coming into the country and automatically increase them by 2 to 10 percent. The assumption is that Israeli importers and foreign vendors collude to undervalue the prices of imports.

Whatever the truth to that is, increasing the declared value of goods (the term is harama, meaning "uplift") has the effect of increasing duties, and thus making the imported goods more expensive.

Because tariffs are being phased out, harama will be less of an issue in the future, but it is a nuisance now and even after tariffs are gone may still be used to set some domestic taxes.

* Unfair application of luxury taxes. Israel puts a tax on "luxuries" like washing machines, automobiles and so on, which are tremendously expensive in Israel. The U.S. Trade Representative says it believes there are cases where locally produced appliances are not taxed as luxuries when similar American goods are. The suspicion is that luxury taxes are manipulated to favor the Israeli producer.

* Wharfage and port fees. For the use of Israeli ports and stevedores, Israeli Customs charges importers 1.5 percent of the cost of goods coming into the country. The charge, naturally, gets tacked onto the final price in Israel.

Exporters, on the other hand, don't pay port or stevedore charges, so Israeli goods get a free ride out of the country. This means that Israel is using imports to subsidize its exports.

* Product and packaging standards. A lot of goods in Israel have to be sold in standard metric sizes. A jar of mustard, say, has to weigh 500 grams, not 16 ounces. Rules like this make it tough for U.S. producers, most of whom still use English measurements. U.S. trade officials believe that some of these standards, like the luxury taxes and TAMA, are applied to favor Israeli over American producers.

* Government procurement. Very few Israeli government tenders are open to U.S. bidders on an equal footing with Israeli bidders. And Israeli ministries that don't discriminate overtly against American bids often give so little advance notice when a tender is announced that U.S. firms can't get their bids in before the deadline.

Israeli government procurement practices also illustrate why an economy with a large state component finds it hard to fit into a free trade agreement. One large Israeli government entity is in charge of importing all beef into the country. Since American beef tends to be high quality and high priced, Israel buys virtually none from the U.S. If the market were open and free, however, some private sector importers would go for the American product.

The upshot of all this is that under the so-called free trade agreement with the United States, Israel gets away with hard-to-see, discriminatory trade practices.

For the last few years, trade between the two countries has been in rough balance (it totaled $8 billion last year). You could argue that if Israel's non-tariff barriers were suddenly eliminated, however, Israel would start showing trade deficits with the U.S.

You could also argue that if the U.S. has to make concessions to Israel to keep bilateral trade in balance or otherwise enhance Israel's economy, it would be better to make them explicit and put them up front in the agreement itself, where Congress and the public could evaluate them in light of Israel's already immense share of U.S. foreign aid.

But that won't happen. Devices like TAMA, the high luxury taxes and all the rest have become permanent fixtures of the Israeli economy, ever-present to skew a free-trade agreement in Israel's favor.

* The U.S. currently has three of these agreements--one with Canada, one with approved states in the Caribbean region (the Caribbean Basin Initiative), and the one with Israel. All of them are products of the Reagan years. NAFTA, between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, is a Bush administration creation and has yet to be approved by Congress. For its part, Israel has free trade area agreements with the EC (1975) and EFTA (1992), both of them rather restrictive.

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Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author MacKinnon, Colin
Publication date Oct 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Affairs of State: Injecting Realism into White House Is Key to Mideast Peace

Bird, Eugene. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 6.


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Affairs of State: Injecting Realism into White House Is Key to Mideast Peace
An opportunity for talks with all parties to Middle East peace illuminated the interval between rounds nine and ten of the Middle East peace talks for the writer, who accompanied a group sponsored by the Pax World Foundation in May for talks with, among others, the foreign ministers of Syria, Jordan and Israel.

Woven between statements of maximum positions were clear statements by Syria's Foreign Minister Farouk Al-Charaa that there is "no bar" to full relations with Israel once the Golan Heights are returned in full. Israel's foreign minister used the term "full peace" in remarking on what was needed to allow Israel to make an offer on the Golan--carefully skirting the issue of what that offer might be.

With then-Jordanian Foreign Minister Kamal Abu Jabar (who is no longer in the cabinet but whose opinions are undoubtedly still valid), the issues between Israel and Jordan were just three: water sharing, refugees, and, above all, a settlement with the Palestinians before Jordan could sign.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres of Israel, commenting on his country's talks with Jordan, made it clear that there were no problems left to negotiate, and maintained that a settlement with Jordan did not depend on settling with the Palestinians first.

The contradictory statements by the Jordanian and Israeli foreign ministers got right to the heart of the problem. Just as the Israelis concentrated unsuccessfully on a separate peace with Syria before the ninth round of talks, prior to the tenth round they unleashed a media blitz on the possibility of a separate peace with Jordan.

"Palestinians First”

However, as everyone knows by now, the Israelis first must sign an agreement with the Palestinians before any other Arab party will sign one with Israel. Only the U.S., somewhat uncomfortably, and the Israelis, very deliberately, deny this.

Both Jonathan Kuttab, the peripatetic Protestant Palestinian rights veteran and one of the founders of Al Haq, the NAACP of the Palestinian movement, and Hanna Nasir, the just-returned-from-exile head of Bir Zeit University, the Harvard of the West Bank, agree that Israel is at a crossroad. The Jewish state can continue to confront the Palestinians and the Arab neighbors to its east and north with military power and occupation, or end its Cold War tactics and truly seek, in the words of Kuttab, to "become a part of the Middle East." He painted a rosy picture of future coexistence for both a binational state of Israel, with a population including a 20 percent Arab minority, and the Palestinians, who have become the most widely scattered and probably still among the best educated of the Arab peoples.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, a clear split has developed over how to proceed with the talks: The White House, openly dominated by at least two totally dedicated figures direct from the Zionist lobby, is urging tough talk with the Palestinian delegates to bring them to sign what would be seen by many of their own people (and both moderates and Islamists throughout the Arab world) as a document of surrender: No interim self-determination except in enclaves, and then highly limited authority during the interim period over land, water, police powers and courts (a prescription for disastrous strife); no promises on the nature of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories after five years; no discussion of the present or future status of East Jerusalem; and no American promises of support for the international control of the Muslim and Christian Holy Places.

Within the State Department, specialists on the Arab countries and Israel are reminding political appointees that the Palestinian negotiators have to come away with some real powers for the interim self-government, and some clear promises on what happens in the final negotiations, including those on East Jerusalem.

White House-State Negotiations
Essentially, what happens at the negotiations between the ex-lobbyists for Israel in the White House, who include National Security Council Middle East Adviser Martin Indyk and newly appointed "presidential adviser" Richard Schifter, reporting to National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, and, in the other corner, career foreign service officers working under Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward Djerejian, will determine whether or not the Palestinians can be persuaded to venture into an open-ended interim agreement. And what happens with the Palestinians will determine what happens in Israel's negotiations with Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The White House still seems to be listening more to Tel Aviv.

The discussions in Damascus also made it clear that even if Israel were willing to give up the Golan in its entirety today, the Syrians could not sign an agreement until the Palestinians were given enough concessions on interim self-government and on East Jerusalem to sign their agreement with Israel first. The "Palestinians first" factor is recognized by the State Department realists as the final, and only, key to peace. The White House, however, still seems to be listening more to Tel Aviv than to Ramallah, Gaza and Tunis.

Mixed Signals in Tel Aviv
Meanwhile, Israel is persistently sending mixed signals. Foreign Minister Peres takes the line that the Arabs are really more interested in building a relationship with the United States than with Israel. He also made clear that so far as he was concerned, "the sky's the limit" on the activities and lobbying of American Jews on behalf of Israel. An Israeli political writer commented that Peres was a man who would make peace, but if he were to come to power he could not do so, for he is not a general. Only an Israeli general can make a peace acceptable to the Israeli public.

That general now is Yitzhak Rabin. He bluntly and realistically told his cabinet on June 7 that "They [Syria, Lebanon and Jordan] can't go to peace before the problem between the Palestinians in the territories and us is solved." He appeared to be admitting for the first time the same "Palestinians first" reality upon which Department of State regional experts have sought to anchor U.S. policy to revive the presently moribund "peace process" upon which so many U.S. presidents have invested so much U.S. prestige.

So, if realists prevail in the U.S. and Israel, it will come down to how much the Palestinians can accept in the way of continued Israeli occupation and interference in their lives during the interim period, and how much the Israelis will promise in terms of the final political status of the occupied territories, and of Jerusalem.

Little Reason for Optimism
Members of the Pax World Foundation delegation, including former Republican Congressman and 1980 independent presidential candidate John Anderson, former U.S. News and World Report Middle East correspondent John Law, and former Department of State official Ellis O. Jones, found little reason for optimism that the present bilateral peace talks will defuse the Palestinian problem successfully. Some concluded that it is not a Palestinian problem so much as a U.S. and Israeli problem.

They defined the U.S. problem as one of modifying the behavior of White House Cold War specialists, whose babble about "triple containment" (of Iraq, Iran and Islamic fundamentalism) as the central U.S. policy in the Middle East only encourages hard-liners in Israel to withhold the concessions to the Palestinians that could finally end the deadlock that is at the core of regional instability, the rise of Islamism, and U.S. problems throughout the entire Muslim world.

Advocates in the White House
Special Assistant to the President Schifter, Reagan administration assistant secretary of state for human rights, who was shown the door after he opposed Bush administration criticism of Israeli human rights violations, will now pair off with Dr. Indyk as the other senior White House proponent of the new Cold War. Both are former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel's Washington lobby, which had become more closely identified with the two hard-line Likud prime ministers, the late Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, than with present Labor Prime Minister Rabin.

The contrast could not be greater with indefatigable peace advocate and Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his Department of State Middle East specialists. They warn that the U.S. must not be lured into a new "cold war," with Islam replacing communism as justification for the vast U.S. military and security establishment that has played the leading role in running the U.S. national debt up to nearly four trillion dollars. The key is not to confront the entire Islamic world but to solve the central problem so aptly identified by Rabin--the relationship of Israel with the Palestinians. A great deal is riding on whether Indyk/Schifter or Christopher/Djerejian prevail in determining Clinton's policy toward the Middle East peace talks.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Bird, Eugene
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Round 10 of the Middle East Peace Talks: A Slow Train on a Circular Track To Nowhere

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 7.


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Round 10 of the Middle East Peace Talks: A Slow Train on a Circular Track To Nowhere
A fire broke out on the top floor of the State Department during the July 15 opening session of the 10th round of Middle East peace talks. Delegates joined hundreds of U.S. government employees who filed out of the building and, 15 minutes later, filed back in. It was the most exciting event of the first week, and no one predicted anything to top it for the remainder of the 10th round of talks.

Summarized delegation spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi at the end of the first day: "I'm looking forward to the day in which I can come here and say, 'Listen, I've got some really good news for you.' But, unfortunately, I don't.”

Given the apparent bankruptcy of Middle East ideas in the Department of State, and the obvious unwillingness to pressure Israel in the White House, there was no reason to expect good news of any kind. When Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had indulged in some pre-session hype about an Israeli- Jordanian agreement being so close that "we just have to take out the pen and sign," his Labor Party political rival, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, punctured the hot-air balloon by assuring the Israeli cabinet that none of the three other Arab states participating in the talks "can go to peace before the problem between the Palestinians in the territories and us is solved." Rabin also told Labor Party members of the Knesset on June 7 that he expected "no breakthroughs" in the 10th round of talks.

An indication of the kind of pressure Rabin is under in Israel, where some predict he will be defeated within a year by the Likud's demogogic new leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, was Netanyahu's demand to know whether it had been made clear to Syria "that Israel will not implement a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights." Rabin gave Netanyahu that assurance, making irrelevant Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad's offer of "full peace for full withdrawal." Neither side has expressed interest in "partial peace for partial withdrawal.”

Publicly, Rabin indulged in some hype of his own when he dangled before the Palestinians the prospect of immediate "autonomy" in Gaza as a trial run for a future autonomy agreement on the West Bank. What Rabin neglected to mention to the Western press, but not to the Palestinians, was that his offer was conditioned upon the Palestinians withdrawing their insistence that the peace negotiations include East Jerusalem as well as the other occupied territories. Such an agreement would be as politically impossible for the Palestinians as would be separate peace agreements with Israel for the Syrians, Jordanians or Lebanese.

The Palestinian Position
In an upbeat interview just before leaving for Washington, Faisal Husseini set out the Palestinian position succinctly. "I am appointed by the PLO," he said, "and we are for a Palestinian state, which has as its borders the 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem. . . What we are working for now is a political solution. . .

"We are for implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, meaning that the Israelis will withdraw from the lands that have been occupied in 1967 and allow the Palestinian people to build their own state, a Palestinian state for all the Palestinians. From our perspective, we believe that it will be the key to the gate leading to regional cooperation in the Middle East.”

No matter how upbeat the Palestinians may be, the nature of the gridlock in Israel that has halted the talks was summarized by Israeli political analyst Alon Ben Meir in the June 17 New York Times: "Both sides must accept the requisite of exchanging territory for peace in accordance with United Nations Resolution 242. No Israeli government, however, could survive the ensuing political storm should it contemplate dismantling any sizable number of settlements, even for the sake of peace. And no Palestinian leadership will give up nearly 50 percent of the west bank.”

In the past, a secretary of state like James Baker could be expected to step in with some ingenious, face-saving formula to break the deadlock, enforced with U.S. foreign aid carrots or sticks for Israel and Saudi petro- dollar carrots or sticks for the Palestinians. Now, however, in the words of one top Rabin aide as reported in the New York Jewish weekly Forward of May 28, "The Americans simply don't have a clue where to go from here.”

In fact, some of the Baker team remains in the State Department loop. Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs Edward Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, will be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel. Former State Department Director of Policy and Planning Dennis Ross, who arrived with the Israel lobby's seal of approval and became Baker's chosen instrument on Middle East affairs, will remain in the Christopher State Department backstopping the peace talks.

How much of the get-tough-with-Israel policy that inspired such hope in the Palestinians and trust among the moderate Arabs was Baker, and how much was Ross, is probably revealed by the dead-end 10th round talks.

A clearer example of what went wrong was provided by a Clinton appointee to the State Department. Asked by a Palestinian if the U.S. thought it was being evenhanded, the official responded: "Of course not. We are strategic allies of Israel. We are the only ones who can make peace. Can you find anyone else who can do this for you?”

The problem, of course, is that if the U.S. can't do better as a peacemaker than it has in Round 10, the Arabs, like the Israelis, may soon stop looking.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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A Matter of International Law and American Honor: Why Clinton Must Save Bosnia

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 8.


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A Matter of International Law and American Honor: Why Clinton Must Save Bosnia
Recently a member of the Bosnian government asked an American correspondent when U.S. President Bill Clinton was born. "If he is a Gemini [born between May 21 and June 20], he might still be capable of changing his mind another time," the inquirer explained hopefully. In fact, it would not be necessary for Clinton to change his mind to save Bosnia--and American honor.

He need only act on his campaign statements criticizing then-President George Bush's inaction there, and the stirring declaration in his inaugural address last January that, "Our hopes, our hearts, our hands are with those on every continent who are building democracy and freedom.”

Bosnia was the closest thing in Eastern Europe to a multi-cultural society on the American pattern. Its population was 44 percent Slavic Muslim, 31 percent Serb, 17 percent Croat and the remainder Jews, Gypsies and other minorities. They lived in mixed neighborhoods and apartment buildings. Intermarriage was common. Ethnically, the three major groups are the same, and all speak Serbo-Croatian.

It was the cancer of excessive nationalism that broke up the Yugoslavian federation, which consisted of six republics and two autonomous regions. The sickness did not start in Bosnia, where physical separation of the Orthodox Christian Serbs, Catholic Christian Croats, and the Slavic Sunni Muslims would be impossible without massive population transfers.

It originated in Serbia and then in Croatia and Slovenia, perhaps in reaction to the seizure by Serbian nationalist President Slobodan Milosevic of autonomous Kosovo in 1989 and the autonomous region of Vojvodina, with concomitant "ethnic cleansing" of Croats living there, in 1991. To Americans who blame Germany for the breakup of Yugoslavia, Germany responds that Serbia had been practicing ethnic cleansing in Croatia and seeking to stamp out Slovenian independence for six months before Germany recognized the two republics in December 1991.

The U.S. followed suit and bears special responsibility in the case of Bosnia, which it recognized as a separate republic, although that multi- cultural state did not have powerful European protectors like Serbia's Russia and France, and Croatia and Slovenia's Germany and Austria.

When Serbia began encouraging Bosnian Serb nationalist Radovan Karadzic to establish his breakaway "Srpska Republic" within Bosnia, and Croatia's extremist President Franjo Tudjman urged Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban to seize as much of Bosnia as he could, the U.S. encouraged Bosnia's joint presidency, consisting of two Croats, two Muslims, two Serbs and one representative of the other minorities, to hold together. To this day there are members of all of these groups in the Bosnian government and fighting in its armed forces for their multi-cultural government.

President Clinton's instincts have been to honor U.S. commitments to the territorial integrity of Bosnia, to the United Nations Charter's ban on the acquisition of territory by force, and to a Bosnian society patterned on American multi-culturalism. He was skeptical from the beginning of the "Vance- Owen" plan, which rewarded the Serbs and Croats for assaulting the territorial integrity of Bosnia.

Clinton's own decision was to support Bosnia's plea for lifting of the U.N. arms embargo, which prevented only the Bosnian army, and not the Serbian and Croatian militias, from obtaining arms to defend itself. He was promised congressional support for this policy by Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) as well as members of his own party. Clinton also asked for NATO support for U.S.-led air strikes against Serb artillery shelling civilians in Bosnia and, if it became clear that Serbia was continuing to supply the assaults on Muslim areas in Bosnia, bombing of bridges linking the two countries and possibly Serbian military installations.

Motivating Milosevic
It was the assumption that such air strikes might begin within days that motivated Serbian President Milosevic to accept the Vance-Owen plan and to threaten to blockade the Bosnian Serbs when they rejected it. Opposition at home to Clinton's plans came from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, an Army officer, but not from the U.S. Air Force command. Opposition to lifting the arms embargo came from British Prime Minister John Major, but not from his predecessor, Dame Margaret Thatcher. Opposition to the air strikes came from France and Russia, both historic Serbian allies, although Russian President Boris Yeltsin had promised in return for U.S. political support in Russia to support Clinton in Bosnia.

Daunted, Clinton and his secretary of state shelved (but did not renounce) their own plans and went along with the British-French plan to protect Muslims within six "safe havens," while, presumably, Serbs and Croats systematically slaughtered Muslims and each other throughout the rest of Bosnia. Now the Europeans are discussing abandonment of the Vance-Owen plan and letting the Serbs of Bosnia join Serbia, the Croats of Bosnia join Croatia, and the 44 percent who are Muslims keep two separate enclaves comprising about 10 percent of Bosnia's original area.

Warren Christopher's inability to organize U.S.-led international action to support the Bosnian Muslims has been a personal disaster. Asked by Los Angeles Times reporter Doyle McManus, "What happened to Warren Christopher's reputation in only four months?" the taciturn secretary of state responded with one word: "Bosnia.”

Still Time to Recover
There still is time, however, for Christopher, and his boss, to recover. The president has not yet embraced Europe's 1993 version of a Munich pact to sell out Bosnia. "My preference was for a multilateral state in Bosnia, but if the parties, including the Bosnian government, agree, genuinely and honestly agree, to a different solution, the United States would have to look at it seriously," Clinton said on June 17.

The Bosnian government is not going to agree to a suicide pact, and is backed by the Islamic world and much public and media opinion in Europe and the United States. Meanwhile, whatever Bosnia does, the Serbs will go right on seizing Muslim villages and towns. According to George Kenney, the State Department desk officer for Yugoslavia who resigned in disgust at U.S. policy in August 1992, in the absence of serious international intervention, the full- scale war fought in 1991 and 1992 between Serbia and Croatia also probably will resume this summer.

Polls show that Americans would support lifting the arms blockade and U.S. air strikes, so long as they were part of an international effort. If President Clinton is perceived as wobbly on foreign affairs and oblivious to the catastrophic effects of a Bosnian surrender on the rule of law and the prospects of peace with justice in the world, he could reverse this by matching his future actions to his past words. His presidency, and U.S. honor, depend on it.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Middle East Peace Talks: Israeli Exercise in Mischief-Making

Findley, Paul. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 9.


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The Middle East Peace Talks: Israeli Exercise in Mischief-Making
The conclusion of the ninth round of the process that is euphemistically called Middle East peace talks reinforced a notion already widely accepted: Israel is as uncompromising under Labor Party leadership as it was under Likud. In fact, cynics could readily dismiss the peace talks as an Israeli exercise in mischief-making.

The ninth round was accompanied by a flurry of gestures by Israel and statements by Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres which helped to create false hopes that Israel was, at last, ready to deal fairly with the Palestinians.

Israel made a big show of permitting a group of Palestinian officials expelled years ago to return. Because they had been illegally expelled originally in violation of Geneva Conventions, the gratitude U.S. officials expressed to Israel overflowed with hypocrisy.

Peres predicted that Israel would soon vacate the Gaza Strip, encourage Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to form a confederation with Jordan, and negotiate a common market that would encompass Jordan and Israel. His comments were not repeated or endorsed and likely were simply a public relations scheme aimed at demonstrating an Israeli willingness to make major concessions in order to achieve peace with Arabs.

Israeli talks with Syrian officials fed speculation that Israel would soon vacate the Golan Heights in exchange for a separate peace treaty between the two governments. With strong behind-the-scenes backing by the U.S. administration, Israel, aware of the enormous leverage it would gain over Palestinians by securing a separate peace treaty with Syria, has been seeking a deal with Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. When the talks adjourned in May, however, both sides said no progress had occurred.

The process has been unproductive because Israel has been unwilling to be specific about the nature and extent of its withdrawal from the Syrian land it holds, and, at the same time, Assad has been uninterested in a scheme that would make him the pariah of Palestinians worldwide. In recent weeks it has become plain that Israel has no serious intention of vacating the Golan Heights.

At a press briefing at the close of the ninth round, leaders of all Arab delegations agreed on a grim assessment. Haidar Abdel Shafi, the thoughtful, dignified physician who leads the Palestinian delegation, summed up: "There has been no progress. Israel is not in compliance with the terms of reference; it does not even admit to being an occupying power. Israel is using the peace process to legitimate its historical illegal actions.”

He laid much of the blame at the American doorstep: "The [U.S.] sponsor should have remedied the lack of integrity and credibility of the process by bringing Israel into compliance [with withdrawal in the context of a peace agreement].”

Blunt Words
The Syrian spokesman, Mouwaffak Allaf, used words even more blunt: "After 18 months we are where we were after the first few rounds. After six rounds there was a new Israeli government which promised to be different, but we are still in the same place as we were when the previous government left. The issue of land for peace is not that Israel is going to give us land, but that it must return Arab land it is occupying illegally.”

Abd Al-Salam Majali, the Jordanian leader, said: "The goal is a comprehensive peace. We do not ever want to see the peace cut up into small pieces; it must be peace for all parties.”

Representing Lebanon, Suhail Shammas said: "For Lebanon the central issue is a total Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. We have the right to end the occupation without this talk of a 'security zone,' which stretches the concept of security." ..TX.-In the waning hours of the round, the United States attempted unsuccessfully to get Israeli-Arab agreement on a statement of progress, a move that major newspapers cited as evidence that the United States is now a full partner in the negotiating process, advancing specific proposals and attempting to secure the support of the parties to the conflict. If so, this would be a major change from the past, when the United States insisted publicly and consistently that its role was limited to that of a facilitator who would bring the parties together but make specific proposals.

This posture ignored the fact that the United States has been a full partner in the peace process from the beginning, but not as an independent honest broker.

Rather, it has been the quiet but loyal and supportive partner of Israel every step of the way from Madrid through the ninth round in Washington. The partnership in the peace talks began under President George Bush and continues without interruption under President Bill Clinton.

The United States has been the quiet but loyal partner of Israel every step of the way.

There is heavy irony in Bush's political fate. He was rejected almost unanimously by U.S. Jews in his unsuccessful bid for re-election to the presidency, despite the fact that he never once tried to pressure Israel into withdrawing from the Arab lands it holds illegally or allowing political rights to Palestinians in the occupied territories. President Bush publicly stated several times his opposition to self-determination for Palestinians. This level of obedience to Israeli interest was insufficient. U.S. Jews turned their backs on him because the purity of his support was slightly less than 100 percent. For nearly a year, he committed the cardinal sin of trying to pressure Israel into halting the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.

The document that was heralded as a sign of new U.S. leadership in the peace talks was nothing more than a statement summarizing the status of issues at the end of the ninth round--not a statement of principles to guide negotiations for Palestinian self-government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as reported by the Washington Post and The New York Times. Both the Israeli and Arab delegations found fault with the U.S. draft.

Nevertheless, the U.S. initiative was unique. Even though modest in its scope and intended substance, it was the first U.S. public intervention since the talks began. The Times reported: "It marked a change for the United States from a relatively passive mediator into an active participant in the 18-month negotiations.”

One can always dream of better days, but the likelihood is remote that the United States will attempt to exert strong, independent leadership publicly or privately in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Warren Christopher, the U.S. secretary of state, admitted as much: "We can only go so far in this endeavor. It's up to the parties. We'll be there if they want our help, but we can't do it for them.”

What he left unstated is the fact that is plain but never stated: The United States government, as a main benefactor of Israel through the years, is a partisan of Israel in the peace talks. It is a loyal and uncritical partner in Israel's every undertaking, and therefore is guilty of complicity on Israel's side in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Christopher might have added that Bosnians, not Palestinians, are center stage. The Clinton administration is agonizing hour-by-hour--and doing so in an embarrassingly public way--over what to do, if anything, to alleviate the dreadful barbarism being inflicted on Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.

This barbarism is exhibited in full color every night on U.S. television, while, thanks to the effectiveness of Israeli censorship, American citizens are shielded almost completely from the agony that Palestinians are suffering daily at the hands of Israeli military forces. Unless a major eruption occurs in the Middle East, the attention of the U.S. government and the American people will remain focused elsewhere in the months to come.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Findley, Paul
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: One Palestinian's Lonely Stand Against State-Sanctioned Theft

Collins, Frank; Shakrah, Jan Abu. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 10.


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Special Report: One Palestinian's Lonely Stand Against State-Sanctioned Theft
We have known Sabri Ghuraib since the time he met with us to ask our help eight years ago, and we have visited him several times at his pleasant home on a knoll in the West Bank village of Ijza, 10 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Despite the pleasant setting, however, there was always an atmosphere of tension there because Jewish settlers from the nearby Givon Hadashah settlement were trying to take over his 25 acres of farmland.

When one of us (Frank Collins) again visited Sabri Ghuraib's home three years ago, however, he was scarcely prepared for the devastation that he saw. The windows of the stone and concrete house had been smashed, and everything in the house had been completely vandalized.

Every piece of furniture had been savaged beyond repair. All the clothing from the closets and drawers had been dumped on the floor and trampled. Even the television set had been completely gutted, its screen broken and its electronics scattered on the floor.

The devastation was the result of a midnight raid by the Givon Hadashah settlers and by Israeli army soldiers, although each group denies that it participated. There was no one to defend the house because, as both the settlers and the soldiers knew, Sabri was in prison for trying to tear down the barbed wire fence that the settlers previously had erected around the property, leaving only a narrow entrance path to the house. Because of earlier harassment, Sabri's family was staying with neighbors across the street, two large families doubled up in the same small house.

Nor was that the last devastating attack on Sabri's home and its furnishings. Several more took place in the following two years. The settlers were trying very hard to force Sabri and his family to leave their home and land.

After his release from prison, Sabri, together with his wife and two oldest sons, were fined the Israeli equivalent of $9,250 for removing "security barriers" (the fence). The $250 fine assessed against Sabri's wife was paid, but Sabri, a poor farmer, has not been able to pay off the remaining $9,000. In March of this year, the police commissioner, accompanied by an army unit, came to inform Sabri that he and his two sons must pay up or go to prison.

For the past 14 years, Sabri and his family have been fighting, both on their land and in the Israeli courts, to save the farm that the family has owned for generations. Sabri still possesses deeds for the property. They predate World War I, going back to the Ottoman empire, and are supplemented by additional papers from the eras of British (1917-1948) and Jordanian (1948- 1967) rule.

Sabri's problems began in 1979, when the settlers of Givon Hadashah decided that they needed some of his land on which to build water tanks. He refused to sell, whereupon one acre was confiscated by the Israeli authorities.

Following this, the joint Palestinian-Israeli "Committee Confronting the Iron Fist" undertook to help Sabri in his resistance to the threatened confiscation of more of his land. It was decided to develop the remaining 24 acres of his land for more intensive agriculture to help make up for the loss of the land that had been confiscated. Such upgrading might also strengthen Sabri against the charge that the land was abandoned, a common Israeli pretext used in court to justify the confiscation of Palestinian land.

A bulldozer was hired for stone removal and terracing, but only after some difficulty, because of threats by the settlers against the commercial bulldozer owners. On the day appointed for the work (a Saturday, so that Sabri's Jewish supporters could be present), a group of members of the committee came to help to clear the land. They were halted by armed settlers. The confrontation was heated, and one of the writers of this article was pursued by the settlers for taking photographs. Although the settlers did not fire their guns, the bulldozer operator was so thoroughly intimidated that he gave up the job on the spot, leaving his bulldozer behind for later retrieval.

The settlers then simply took possession, without even the figleaf of a court order, of six acres of Sabri's land, allegedly to build a new access road. They established their claim by laying coils of barbed wire around the land that they had taken. This literally cut off the access of the Ghoraib family to their own well, water pump and outdoor privy. At night, when Sabri's family tried to sleep, the settlers drove heavy trucks inside the barbed wire enclosure adjacent to the house, loudly cursing the family. Eventually, the settlers physically assaulted Sabri and one of his sons, who required hospitalization for his injuries.

Apparently coincidentally, Sabri's oldest son, Samir, was shot to death by a Palestinian collaborator around the same time. Samir had joined local villagers to mediate between the collaborator and Palestinians suspected of killing the collaborator's son. The collaborator took aim and shot at one of the Palestinian suspects, but the bullet hit Samir in the head. As is often the case under the occupation, the collaborator was not arrested or even questioned.

"State Land”

Predictably, the gunpoint take-over of the six acres subsequently was sustained by an Israeli occupation confiscation order that declared the disputed six acres was "state land." In the context of Israeli law, "state land" does not mean public land. It means that the land may be used exclusively by Jewish settlers, with the original Palestinian owners treated as trespassers.

Sabri contested the confiscation of his land in an appeal to the High Court of Israel. The court rejected his appeal, and assessed a fine of $1,500 against him for filing it. Since he was unable to pay the fine, he was jailed. Finally, after he had been in prison for several days, friends raised the money to pay the fine.

A year ago, after the Ghoraib home had been vandalized several more times, the settlers erected a huge water tank on the confiscated land directly behind Sabri's home. They took the occasion once again to smash all of the windows of his house, again forcing the family to leave. Sabri and his family moved back this spring, after raising enough money for the repairs.

Early this spring, the settlers started marking the ground around Sabri's house in preparation for the building of new single-family villas with gardens talked about in the Givon Hadashah settlement bulletin several years ago. The occupation authorities have informed Sabri's lawyer that the settlers have no building license, and that the settlers' actions on the land are illegal. However, the bulldozers have continued to work on and off, under army protection.

On June 2 of this year, Sabri was arrested again, following a new confrontation with the settlers. Sabri and his grandchildren threw stones, the settlers shot over their heads and Sabri was taken to the Ramallah prison compound. His lawyer has been informed that the bail for Sabri's release this time has been set at $700.

Longstanding Harassment
Sabri's misfortunes, which are by no means unusual, began long before the intifada. Other West Bank farmers who have had the singular courage to resist confiscation of their land have suffered similar harassment and physical intimidation while they sought relief through the court system. In fact, fewer than 1 in 20 of the Palestinian litigants have won their cases in Israeli courts.

Even then, successful litigants have found that winning a court case merely delayed the process of confiscation. New rulings by the occupation authorities under one pretext or another, accompanied by settler harassment, have presented the farmers with such insuperable obstacles that, in the end, they have been unable to support the high costs of continued legal proceedings. It is therefore hardly surprising that most farmers simply acquiesce when their land is threatened with confiscation.

Sabri Ghuraib is a notable exception. His courageous determination, at such a grim personal cost, to preserve his home and land that has been in his family for generations, has won him support from a number of Israeli, Palestinian and foreign solidarity groups. In addition, several embassies and consulates have made representations to the occupation authorities and to the Israeli government over the case. So far, however, nothing has stopped the settlers, their bulldozers, and their Israeli army protectors from depriving him of his land, his house, his possessions and his freedom, one theft at a time.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Sabri Ghuraib)


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Author Collins, Frank; Shakrah, Jan Abu
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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From the Hebrew Press: Can Religious Settlers Scuttle an Israeli-Palestinian Peace?


Shahak, Israel. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 11.


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From the Hebrew Press: Can Religious Settlers Scuttle an Israeli- Palestinian Peace?

Israeli opposition to any land-for-peace agreement is spearheaded by Jewish religious and secular settlers in the occupied territories. Though very different, these two kinds of settlers are backed, in turn, by the right-wing and religious parties, which hold 53 out of 120 Knesset seats.

Voting patterns of the secular settlers are not too different from those in Israel as a whole, who in 1992 gave Labor 34.6 percent of the vote, Likud 24.9 percent and Meretz 9.5 percent of the vote.

By contrast, in the religious Kiryat Arba settlement, Likud got 2.5 percent, Labor 0.9 percent and Meretz no votes. All of the remaining votes in Kiryat Arba went to the religious parties and to right-wing parties more extreme than Likud, such as the Moledet Party, which favors expulsion of all non-Jews from Israel and the occupied territories.

In order to understand how the religious settlers influence Israeli politics, it is necessary to go back only two years. On April 12, 1991, the chief political correspondent of Ha'aretz, Uzi Benziman, reported that then- U.S. Secretary of State James Baker "opened his conversation with David Levy [then Israeli foreign minister] by saying that Sharon must be stopped" from building settlements wherever he wished to on the West Bank.

As Benziman made clear, Baker wanted only to stop provocative settlements. As a quid pro quo, he offered $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and eight concessions to demands by the Israeli government of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. Among the concessions, according to Benziman, were the following: "It is agreed that a Palestinian state is not to be a subject of negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians]; it is agreed that the Palestinian delegation is to be selected rather than elected; it is agreed that [U.N. Security Council] Resolutions 242 and 338 are subject to two different interpretations, each as valid as the other," etc.

The religious settlers, however, were adamant in rejecting any concessions to the U.S. at all, eventually forcing Shamir to renege on his deal with the U.S. When it turned out that "a tacit agreement linking together the [Israeli] government, the leadership of [Jewish] settlers and the American administration proved unreachable," according to Benziman, the U.S. began threatening Israel that the guarantees would be withheld. The settlers, however, would not budge.

"The leaders of the religious settlers are convinced that they have been chosen by the grace of God," Benziman wrote in Ha'aretz of June 28, 1991. "They firmly believe that they are in a better position than others to decode the inner laws governing the march of history. . . The recipe of the religious settlers in the territories for obtaining the guarantees is simple: 'Determination, strong nerves, national pride, and guarding the [Israeli] ability to make sovereign decisions. The rest will come of itself, with God's help."'
A Well-Recognized Analogy
Clearly, the Jewish religious settlers have a religious fanatic mentality closely resembling that of the Muslim extremists of Hamas. The analogy is well recognized by the Hebrew press, but never mentioned by the British or American media. For the mainstream U.S. press in particular, the very possibility of Jewish religious fanaticism is unmentionable.

Nevertheless, the religious settlers have no hesitation in laying out publicly their objections to the Palestinian autonomy plan as envisaged by both the Shamir and Rabin governments. According to Nadav Shraggay, writing in Ha'aretz of April 23, 1992, the religious settlers long ago drafted a letter to the chief Israeli delegate to the Washington peace talks with Jordanians and Palestinians, Elyakim Rubinstein, who is religious himself.

The letter, signed by all settler rabbis in addition to 38 other rabbis, solemnly warned Rubinstein that "a Jew who lends his hand to the traitorous act of delivering the clearly Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria into the hands of Gentiles cannot be considered religious." They quoted Rabbi Harlap, who before 1947 had ruled "that there can be no doubt" that if a religious Jewish official "is within the framework of his duties asked to sign an international treaty ceding any rights over no matter how tiny a chunk of the land of Israel to the Gentiles, he should cut off his thumbs in order to avoid signing such a treaty." To date, Rubinstein, who still heads the Israeli delegation, hasn't cut off his thumbs.

The settlers next applied to one of their leaders, Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, and to several other rabbis, for help in defining their position. From Rabbi Aviner they obtained a definitive response, according to Shraggay:

"In the first place, [Aviner] determined that there is no difference between a Palestinian state and autonomy, except in the name," Shraggay wrote. "The autonomy is a new ploy of our Gentile enemies to ruin a part of the Land of Israel. This is the customary way of the Gentiles. Sometimes they fight us overtly, but sometimes they rely on clever and intricate schemes, using their habitual hypocrisy and their false morality in order to swallow a part of our own country.'''
The settlers also were able to quote rabbis more extremist than Rabbi Aviner. Rabbi Ya'akov Navon from the Shilo settlement opined that "autonomy cannot but lead to transgressions of a number of religious prohibitions." The first is "the prohibition against allowing the Gentiles to live in the Land of Israel, except on condition of agreeing to serve the king of Israel [whom Rabbi Navon equates with the state of Israel], and refraining from behaving impudently to the Jews." Any kind of autonomy, argues Rabbi Navon, perhaps not without good reasons, might encourage the Gentiles to be more rather than less "impudent to the Jews.”

The now-deceased founder and leader of Gush Emunim, Rabbi Yehuda Zvi Kook, declared that autonomy's greatest evil is that the Jews willing to grant it considered themselves weak, instead of putting their trust in God. Had they done so, God would have been certain to reward them by endowing them with unrivaled strength.

The religious settlers and their closest allies in the National Religious Party have remained true to those principles. But their supporters in the major right-wing parties, Likud and Tzomet, already speak a different language. They talk of Israeli security and they fail to recognize the Arabs as Gentiles. Thus, the Likud Party admits Arabs as members. One of its MKs, As'ad As'ad, is a Druze, on close terms with Netanyahu. Tzomet also enjoys significant Druze support. The alliance of the religious settlers with their secular supporters, close as it may seem, must be regarded as potentially fragile.

Since the religious settlers adamantly oppose autonomy, and already have succeeded in quashing the agreement Israel had reached with the Bush administration, some Hebrew press commentators predict that they would not shrink from launching a civil war. On March 26, 1993, Israeli commentator Ran Edelist addressed the religious settlers in an open letter:

"You have administered for 25 years a racist regime of conquest, haughtiness and fraudulent heroism. . .I will ignore your claim that God is on your side. Permit me to say that I surely hold your God in low repute.

"I assume that by now even an utter fool would recognize that all your displays of cheap grandiosity could have no effect other than building a wall of hostility around you, which in turn begot the terror.

"I can spare you a burst of indignation at me by admitting my own erstwhile complicity in your crimes. Yet, unlike you, I can recognize when a precipice or a wall stops me from moving forward, and I intend to utilize my firm grasp on reality. . .

"I have something to tell you which presumably cannot be a great secret even to you. The Israeli army and the Security Branches [i.e., Shabak and Mossad] are preparing for the peace process. The preparations include measures against two kinds of provocations: those of extremist Arabs and of extremist Jews. For me, you and the knife-wielders of Hamas pose the same degree of threat. But since I hope that the Hamas' threat will be taken care of by its [ethnic] brethren, I have no choice but to neutralize you as a threat. I have no choice because you are my brother.

"It is apparent that we are both moving toward a violent confrontation which may be Jewish-Arab, but may also be internecine Jewish. . . in either case I will not be on your side. This time I am not going to be impressed by your sanctimonious habit of raising your eyes up to the heavens and invoking Jewish brotherhood. I will not let myself be dragged into a religious war or racist gang warfare. From now on, there will be a complete separation between one belligerent, you, and another, me. Until one of us is defeated.”

Government Fear of Settlers
By the end of April the Hebrew press recognized that, as Benziman put it in Ha'aretz of April 30, the government was afraid of the settlers. "Among members of the government there are some who believe that current Israeli positions cannot avoid a fratricidal shedding of Jewish blood," Benziman wrote. "In personal conversations, those ministers intimate that, for the first time since formation of the state of Israel, political struggle will involve the use of firearms and attempts to assassinate politicians.

"It is not clear whether such fears are based on intelligence estimates or whether the ministers voicing them fear for themselves as possible targets. But the decision makers assume that the coming political contest in Israel will be stormy, violent and extremely sordid, necessitating special efforts by the police and Shabak to protect the lives of public figures.”

The government responds to the settlers and their allies in various ways. On one hand, it reassures the public that the autonomy agreement envisages no essential changes. As Benziman puts it, "The government, at least for the time being, keeps reassuring everybody that no withdrawal from Judea, Samaria and the Gaza District is being contemplated, and therefore that all the settlers' claims of risks to their security are baseless.”

The ploy may work, Benziman writes, because even "the leaders of the settlers recognize that the great majority of Israeli Jews are not overly concerned with the fate of Jewish settlers," in contrast to their keen concern, justified or not, about Israel's security.

On the other hand, the government appeals to the memory of Menachem Begin. Benziman writes, "The leaders of the settlers know that the idea of autonomy in its Israeli understanding enjoys a modicum of popularity in the public mind by virtue being associated with the memory of Menachem Begin, and they recognize that this factor could make it very difficult for them to sway the public against autonomy.”

In pursuit of this tactic, Begin and his policies are now extolled in the Labor Party newspaper Davar. Its political commentator, Khami Shalev, wrote on April 30 that "Rabin conducts the negotiations about the future of the territories in exact conformity with Likud's ideology. He has not relinquished the Golan Heights and he keeps the option of the formal annexation of the territories by Israel open until the very end.”

Shalev acknowledges that Likud has been right in accusing Rabin of having deceived the voters, but he defends the prime minister. "Promising to stand firmly by a rigidly defined principle in order to subsequently renege on it is no deception but a mark of sophistication in policy-making. This was done by Moshe Dayan . . . This was done by Menachem Begin . . . It was Yitzhak Shamir who didn't hesitate to openly avow that `for the sake of the Land of Israel lying is permitted.'
"Unfortunately, Shamir himself didn't lie. Contrary to what he avowed, he prided himself in doing exactly as he said. He announced he was going to fill the territories with Jews, and he proceeded to do exactly that. He said he would concede nothing, and never conceded anything.

"True, he did deceive the Americans. But he kept telling the truth to the Israelis, and behaved accordingly. The inevitable consequence of this `honesty' was the stalemating of the peace process, our involvement in some quite superfluous settlements and the intifada.”

Remarkable as pro-Labor commentator Shalev's statement is, it doesn't mean that, unlike Shamir, Rabin tells the truth to the Americans while deceiving the Israelis. It can be seen that Rabin deceives everybody, his closest associates included.

Along with other pro-Labor journalists, Shalev advises the government to lash out at Likud for being unable to deceive its own followers intelligently. In conclusion, Shalev says that "if Rabin succeeds in delivering peace, people will soon forget all his `deceptions'; and in case there will be no peace, the prime minister's `honesty' will offer us no consolation.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Israeli Jewish civilian carrying a gun)


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Author Shahak, Israel
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Diplomacy: Anees Barghouti, Ambassador of Palestine in Washington

Killgore, Andrew. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 12.


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Diplomacy: Anees Barghouti, Ambassador of Palestine in Washington
The sign on Anees Barghouti's office door in Washington, DC reads "League of Arab States, Palestine Affairs Center." As director of that office since June 1992, Barghouti, a Palestinian American, is the equivalent of the ambassador of Palestine to the United States. His country is not officially recognized by the United States, but he personally is accorded ambassadorial status by the majority of foreign ambassadors in Washington.

The Palestine Affairs Center, in an earlier incarnation as the Palestine Information Office (PIO) in Washington, was closed in 1988 by the Department of State. The instigator of the election-year closure order, acceded to by the outgoing Reagan administration, was the hyperactive American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which lobbies for Israel in Washington, DC. AIPAC's tactic was to raise the threat of a shift away from the Republican ticket of Jewish donors and voters who had supported Ronald Reagan in order to induce the administration to close both the PIO office in Washington and the Palestine Observer Mission at the United Nations in New York.

The latter, however, had been accorded official observer status by formal United Nations action. The campaign to close the Observer Mission, which was the de facto representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization at the U.N., failed when an American court ruled that the treaty between the United States and the United Nations establishing the U.N. on American soil precluded the U.S. from closing the mission.

Although that now is a closed chapter in the troubled history of U.S.-PLO relations, it probably is no coincidence that Mr. Barghouti, his wife, Somaia, their three daughters, Rola (25), Dina (24) and Riham (21), and, indeed, all of the senior staff of the Palestine Affairs Center, are American citizens, not subject to the kind of personal harassment an unfriendly individual in the U.S. government might otherwise be able to orchestrate.

The Palestine Affairs Center speaks in the United States for a total Palestinian population now approaching six million. Half are scattered around the world, including over 200,000 in the United States in exile from their ancient homeland. The other half is still living there, living in Israel (900,000), in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (1.2 million), and in the Israeli- occupied Gaza Strip (750,000).

Those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza are accorded no rights whatever by Israel--not even the right to remain in the land of their birth. This was demonstrated dramatically by Israel's expulsion last Dec. 17, without any semblance of due process, of 415 Palestinians from the occupied territories to a frozen hillside just outside Israel's self-proclaimed "security zone" in Lebanon.

The 900,000 Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel itself, comprising nearly 20 percent of Israel's population, also are denied many of the normal rights of citizens in democratic nations because, as Muslim and Christian citizens of Israel, they lack "Jewish nationality." Although born in Israel, because they are not Jews they do not enjoy many of the rights and privileges bestowed upon their Jewish fellow citizens. Thus the Palestinians in Israel, the occupied territories, and, to a lesser extent, in the rest of the world, have become a modern equivalent of the Biblical Job, who suffered so many undeserved afflictions, multiplied by 6 million.

Anees Barghouti comes from a large land-owning family. They have been far more fortunate than many of their com-patriots, who lost everything when, in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were terrorized into fleeing their homes and, in 1967, another 200,000 were hustled out of their country during and after Israel's seizure of the West Bank.

Most members of the Barghouti family were able to remain on their lands, centering on the town of Bir Ghassaneh in the Jerusalem District of the West Bank, where Anees Barghouti was born in 1935. Most of these properties, to date, have not been seized by the Israeli government for the use of Israeli "settlers" in the occupied territories.

Caught in an Historical Collision
Nevertheless, like all Palestinians wherever they are, Center Director Barghouti has been caught up in the 20th century's ongoing collision between Jewish and Palestinian nationalisms. For 46 years of this clash the U.S. has played not only a major role but, the Palestinians say, an unbalanced and misguided one. It is the Center's job to explain to Americans the increasingly negative consequences of the traditional American partisanship toward Israel. This began in 1947, when the United States railroaded through the United Nations a resolution giving more than half of Palestine to the one-third of its inhabitants who were Jewish. It continued through the years with tens of billions of dollars in U.S. aid. This virtually unlimited outpouring of American largesse has enabled Israel to usurp all of the lands of the former British Mandate of Palestine, to exile half of the Palestinians from their homeland, and to deny even the most elementary rights to those under Israeli military control.

There are other factors, however, that facilitate the work of the Palestine Affairs Center. Most Americans who have lived and worked in the Middle East, whether as diplomats, Christian missionaries, petroleum engineers or military advisers, understand and sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians. Similarly, Arab Americans, perhaps three million of them from more than 20 Arab countries, are honored to help.

Nor has the moral support of such pro-Palestinian Americans gone unreciprocated by the Palestinians. Despite the damage to their campaign for an independent state done by many official U.S. policies, American education at all levels has been overwhelmingly favored by Palestinians in a position to avail themselves of it.

Anees Barghouti is a good example. He earned his high school diploma at the Friends (American Quaker) Boys School in Ramallah, a West Bank city now under Israeli occupation; his B.S. degree from the American Jesuit-operated Al- Hikma University in Baghdad, and his Master's degree from Clark University in Massachusetts. He had to break off his Ph.D. studies at Boston College in 1967 after Israel seized the West Bank and his family no longer was able to pay his U.S. tuition.

Broke and unemployed, the young Palestinian, on the advice of a friend, drove an ancient automobile to Steubenville, Ohio, where he landed a job as chief planner of the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission. Two years later, in 1969, he returned to the Middle East for a stay of seven years. He worked first at the Arab Bank in Amman, and then as director of marketing and planning for Royal Jordanian Airlines. Still later he became an economic researcher for the Arab League in Cairo.

Like most American families with three children to educate, the Barghoutis have felt the financial strain. Mrs. Barghoutis has continued to work in a responsible position at the Palestine Observer Mission in New York since her husband's assignment to Washington. Like many American couples, the Barghoutis have managed to remain a two-income family, but at the cost of working in different cities.

Virtue Becomes Necessity
Anees Barghouti is a friendly, outgoing man devoid of the pretensions that sometimes characterize senior diplomats in prestigious Washington positions. As an economist by training, he is systematic and careful with money, both on an official and personal level. What was once a virtue has become a stark necessity for Palestinian diplomats. Funds available to the Palestinian national movement have been seriously curtailed in the aftermath of the Gulf war, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians lost their homes and jobs not only in Kuwait, but also in other parts of the Palestinian diaspora. Their contributions, along with some subsidies to the PLO from oil-producing countries in the Gulf, were curtailed or stopped.

As a man born just one year before the Palestinian Revolt of 1936, which signaled the outright break between his country's long-term Arab residents and the incoming European Zionists, the Palestine Affairs Center director has developed a philosophical attitude over a lifetime spent as a participant in an unending series of turbulent events. He is calm and undeterred in the face of any and all personal and professional difficulties. Those who confuse his patience with resignation, however, will find they are mistaken. Like the rest of the Palestinian six million, and their millions of supporters around the globe, Anees Barghouti has dedicated his life, and instilled his children with that same dedication, to the cause of the country he represents in the United States, and Palestine's unremitting struggle for justice in the Middle East.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Anees Barghouti)


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Author Killgore, Andrew
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: A Tale of Two Spies

Williams, Ian. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 13.


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Special Report: A Tale of Two Spies
Two Jews convicted of spying are serving life sentences. For one, there is a massive campaign for clemency in both Israel and within the organized U.S. Jewish community. For the other, apart from a few dozen supporters in Israel, there is total silence. The reason, of course, is that American Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel, while Israeli Mordechai Vanunu was found guilty of spying against Israel.

Moved by his conscience, Vanunu had confirmed to the world that Israel not only had nuclear weapons, but had many more of them than either the Soviets or the CIA suspected. He received no money from any government for his revelations, which he made after a year of wrestling with his conflicting loyalties as an Israeli and as a human being opposed to nuclear proliferation.

By contrast, although Pollard insists he was motivated by concern for Israeli security, he was paid (and is still being paid) a handsome salary by the Israeli government. His Israeli handlers also provided gifts and trips to Europe for Pollard and his wife, Anne. The severity of Pollard's sentence was based on secret testimony by Caspar Weinberger, who is on record as saying that Pollard was lucky--he should have received three life sentences. Pollard provided Israeli intelligence with more than 1,000 classified U.S. documents, some consisting of hundreds of pages, comprising overall some 360 cubic feet of paper.

According to American investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, Pollard sold information on nuclear targets in the Soviet Union to Israel. U.S. defense sources suggest that what caused the most bitter anger against Pollard in the Pentagon and throughout the American intelligence community was the fact that the information compromised human agents in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. U.S. intelligence sources have concluded that the Israeli government bartered this information to the Soviet Union.

Interestingly, Pollard spoke Afrikaans and had had ambitions to work for South Africa's Bureau of State Security. Part of his responsibility was monitoring U.S. intelligence from and about South Africa. The Pretoria/Jerusalem axis was well established by then, and presumably information on U.S. intelligence assets in South Africa received from Pollard also would have been traded by Israel to South Africa as part of the sanctions- busting military and civilian commerce in which Israelis were engaged.

In March 1987, Pollard pled guilty and received a life sentence. One year later, in March 1988, Mordechai Vanunu, after a trial conducted in secret, during which he was forced to wear a motorcycle crash helmet in and out of the court, was sentenced to 18 years' imprisonment. Since then he has been kept in solitary confinement in a 2-by-3-meter cell with artificial light only, kept on 24 hours a day.

Moved by his conscience, Vanunu Received no money from any government.

His family believes that the Israeli government is trying to drive him insane so that when his sentence is over he can be transferred straight to an asylum. Any information that he gives would then be discounted as the ravings of a lunatic. There is evidence that the Israeli authorities have done this before. The victim was Professor Marcus Klingberg, accused of being a Soviet agent while working at the Israeli chemical and biological warfare plant at Nes Tziona.

Although President George Bush refused to accede to the massive campaign for clemency for Pollard, just before Bush left office Caspar Weinberger seemed to retreat from his earlier stance and implied that he would be prepared to see Pollard set free.

At the 1993 AIPAC convention in Washington, DC, Executive Director Thomas Dine, while not giving the full backing of the Israeli lobby to the campaign, revealed that the current application for clemency was moving between the Justice Department and the White House. Some national U.S. Jewish organizations have demurred from publicly endorsing the clemency campaign because their leaders believe Pollard's crime, and the efforts on his behalf, lend credence to suspicions that American Jews have dual loyalties. However, few Jewish leaders risked the opprobrium of the mainstream Jewish leadership by publicly opposing the clemency campaign.

While President Clinton has, on most issues, shown himself extremely solicitous of the feelings of American Jewish leaders, he is uneasily aware that this issue would involve him in further conflict with the U.S. military, already unhappy with his lack of military service and his promise to permit gays to serve in the armed forces. For most of the Pentagon establishment, Pollard is simply and unequivocally a traitor.

Former Israeli paratrooper Gideon Spiro is one of the few Jews publicly campaigning for the release of Mordechai Vanunu. On a visit to the U.S. in March, he called for an exchange of Pollard for Vanunu. He is careful to point out that Pollard was a genuine spy, who confessed to taking a lot of money from a foreign government for information, while Vanunu got no money for his exposure of activity that the Israeli government had never even confessed to its citizens. To the argument that Vanunu is not an American, Spiro replies: "Neither was Sharansky, but the U.S. still arranged an exchange for him.”

Spiro has been touring the world on behalf of Vanunu and proudly points out that a group of Australian legislators has sponsored the prisoner for a Nobel Peace Prize. That is in stark contrast to the behavior of Amnesty International, which has condemned the cruelty of solitary confinement but has consistently refused to adopt him as a prisoner of conscience.

Their explanation is that Vanunu broke the law. Of course, so do most political prisoners--which makes Amnesty's reticence so much the more intriguing. In contrast, the European Parliament has passed several resolutions calling for Vanunu's release and condemning his abduction by Israeli agents from Western Europe. The Japanese government invited Gideon Spiro to Japan to speak at a conference on nuclear disarmament, but such international concern has had little resonance in Israel.

Spiro was one of the Israeli soldiers who refused their call-up papers for the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Since he had served directly under General Rafael Eitan, parachuting into Egypt's Mitla pass in the 1956 Suez attack, and again in the assault on East Jerusalem in 1967, it would have been too embarrassing for the authorities to prosecute him.

That, however, did not mean that the Likud government was prepared to drop the matter. Spiro was sacked from his government job in the Ministry of Education for accusing Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and Defense Minister Ariel Sharon of war crimes. Spiro fought the case all the way to Israel's Supreme Court and lost. He now is writing a book on anti-Arab racism in the Israeli judicial system.

"A settler is part of the occupation.”

"Just look at the demolitions, deportations and shooting they have approved," Spiro says dismissively. "The Nuremberg trials established the principle that obeying the law is not the supreme principle. Things don't have to get as bad as the Nazis before the judges refuse to obey the law.”

Spiro escaped with his parents from Germany in 1939, just five months before the outbreak of World War II. His memory of that has led him to condemn the hypocrisy of Israeli leaders who continually invoke the Holocaust to win the sympathy of the world, but have acted as close allies to a South Africa whose racial laws were as draconian as the Nuremberg laws in Germany. He is at pains to say that he thinks a comparison between the Nazi extermination campaigns and Israel's treatment of Palestinians is unwarranted, but he has shocked Israelis by comparing conditions in Israel directly with South African apartheid.

He made himself unpopular by writing, after a Jewish woman settler and her children were killed when the car they were traveling in was fire-bombed in the West Bank: "A settler who decides to live in the occupied zone under the umbrella of the occupation forces is part of the occupation, and cannot be seen as an innocent person hiking in a lovely nature reserve. If he brings his family, his wife and children, to live in these dangerous circumstances, he is putting their lives in jeopardy.”

In 1988, he compared Israel's president to a Mafia leader, or Papa Doc Duvalier of Haiti, for the pardons he gave to the Shin Bet murderers. "To me, Jewishness means love thy neighbor as thyself, and don't do to the other what you would not like to be done to you," he says in explaining the motivation for his writing and his campaign on Vanunu's behalf.

Many Arabs suspected at the time Vanunu was lured from England, kidnapped in Rome and brought back to Israel for trial that the dramatic circumstances were part of a sophisticated Mossad plot to convince the Arab world and the West that Israel did indeed have nuclear weapons. But after seven years in solitary confinement, and with his sanity under siege, it is clear that if there were such a plot, Vanunu was not a willing party to it.

Vanunu's Story
Mordechai Vanunu was the son of immigrants to Israel from Morocco. He worked for nine years at Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona, built with French help before the 1967 war.

Although it was supposed to be a peaceful research reactor, no one could work there without realizing that its purpose was far from peaceful. While there, Vanunu studied philosophy, and, without awakening suspicion in the Israeli Security Services, he befriended Arab students in Beersheba.

He began to agonize about what everyone knew was happening. He smuggled in a camera and took pictures which now are regarded as conclusive evidence of the military nature of the reactor.

After leaving Dimona, Vanunu went on a round-the-world tour. He passed through Moscow with a roll of undeveloped photographs of the secret reactor in his backpack. He could have named his own price with the Soviets, but he did not reveal Israel's nuclear secrets until after his conversion to Anglican Christianity in Sydney, Australia. That conversion was used by the Israeli government to help destroy any public sympathy for him within Israel. Spiro points out that one of the judges was a religious Jew, who would have been particularly shocked by Vanunu's apostasy.

Spiro notes that when he went to Vanunu's church in Sydney and asked what the congregants were doing to help, the vicar told him they were praying for Vanunu. Spiro clearly felt this was not enough.

The Israeli campaign is hoping to link up with a similar campaign in Egypt calling for a nuclear-free Middle East. The Egyptian activists complain that the aging nuclear reactor in Dimona could prove to be another Chernobyl-- and that the concentration of over 200 nuclear warheads in a country so small is dangerous in itself.

While in the U.S., Spiro approached public figures like George McGovern and many congressmen to support the idea of an exchange of Pollard for Vanunu. Spiro paid particular attention to Episcopalian leaders. Since the Clinton administration puts stress on stopping nuclear proliferation and on supporting human rights, Spiro says, Washington should support the swap on both grounds. An op-ed piece he prepared on the subject for The New York Times was, perhaps not surprisingly, rejected. He now has plans for newspaper advertisements and articles. Whether successful or not, the campaign to trade Pollard for Vanunu probes the foundations of the humanitarian grounds upon which many Pollard supporters are basing their own campaign.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Gideon Spiro)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Williams, Ian
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Sight Bites: What Should the International Community Be Doing About Bosnia?


The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 14.


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SIGHT BITES: What Should the International Community Be Doing About Bosnia?

Ambassador to the U.S. Ahmed Maher El Sayed of Egypt:

"The deterioration of the situation in Bosnia as a result of the pursuance of Serbian aggression reinforces Egypt's constant position that it is necessary for the international community to be more forceful and determined in implementing the rule of law and Security Council resolutions. The humanitarian aspect is but one facet of a situation created by actions which are contrary to all norms and standards set by the Charter of the United Nations and various human rights instruments.

"Recent experience shows that nobody should continue to entertain the illusion that Serbia can be counted upon to make a positive contribution to resolving the problem. The sanctions imposed upon it should be strictly respected by all.

"The mandate of UNPROFOR should be widened to allow it to deal effectively with various forms of Serbian aggression. The arms embargo, to which Bosnia-Herzegovina is unjustly subjected, must be lifted in order to allow it to defend itself. This, coupled with a firmer intervention by the international community, would create the necessary conditions for the political process to bear fruit, since at this juncture the situation on the ground clearly cannot produce a viable and lasting political settlement.”

Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia:

"What greatly concerns the Islamic world now is that a Muslim population in Bosnia--the last remnants of Islam's long presence in southeastern Europe-- is under threat of extinction. How can we explain to our people in Saudi Arabia watching Western media reports on Bosnia's slaughter and horror that the product of a new, democratic and free world ends in ethnic cleansing in Europe?

"We have a strong vested interest in strengthening understanding and the bonds between the Muslim world and the West. I must say we are still hopeful that the U.S. position concerning Bosnia will yet evolve positively, especially compared to the badly flawed European position. The choices are clear: Either the U.N. should implement its resolutions or allow the Bosnian Muslims to arm and defend themselves, as King Fahd and President Clinton have called for.”

Ambassador to the U.S. Ismail Khelil of Tunisia:

"The actions taken up to now by the international community to address the tragic situation in Bosnia have fallen short of preventing the Serb aggressors from pursuing their genocidal attempts at 'ethnic cleansing.'
"Various arguments have been invoked to justify international indecisiveness. The advocates of inaction have pointed to such things as the lack of strategic imperatives, the dangerous complexity of the situation and the need to give diplomatic efforts more time. Unfortunately these arguments do not take into consideration the desperate situation of the Bosnian Muslims, who are quickly giving up all hope of international support. Subjected to continuous shelling, displacement and starvation, Bosnian Muslims may not be around long enough to be saved by anybody. Furthermore, the risk of expansion of the conflict to the rest of the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean is increasingly obvious.

"Another alarming factor is the perception by Arab-Islamic public opinion that the West is essentially apathetic to Muslim suffering. Compared to the attitude of the international community in other crises, the West's hesitation to get involved in the conflict is seen by many as the reflection of a double standard in the face of aggression. This can only fuel extremism and intolerance in the region and play into the hands of the proponents of ethnic and religious polarization.”

Ambassador to the U.S. Nuzhet Kandemir of Turkey:

"Turkey's position on the issue of Bosnia has been clear and consistent from the beginning. Aggression must not be rewarded but reversed and repulsed with determination. The international community must not act as mere spectators when every rule of international law and common decency is being trampled. As we have stated repeatedly, we in Turkey are ready and willing to do our part to contribute to an international effort to end this. The international community has the means and mechanisms. What we need is political will and leadership.

"The world community, and the United Nations in particular, have been too slow and too ineffective in dealing with this issue. Time to act is rapidly running out. Already, precious time has been lost. The risk that the conflict will spill over into the rest of the Balkans is unabated. Unless Serbian aggression is checked and reversed decisively, I am afraid there will be nothing left to save. Should that be the case, the losers will be not only the Bosnians, but the credibility of the entire free world.”

Information Attache Salim M. Almahruqi of Oman:

"If anything, the world community's attitude toward the Bosnia crisis demonstrates the bankruptcy of the concept of the 'new world order,' which raised so many expectations only to be followed by profound disappointment. The crisis in Bosnia calls for universal principles governed by morals and respect for human life and dignity to be applied without exclusion.”

Press Attachι Malik Zahoor Ahmad of Pakistan:

"Since World War II we have witnessed the worst kind of aggression and gross violations of human rights and dignity in Palestine, Kashmir and now Bosnia-Herzegovina. The hesitation of the great powers in the face of grotesque atrocities has only emboldened the Serbian war criminals, who are still on the rampage with 'ethnic cleansing,' rape and genocide.

"We believe that the world community must act on the basis of the principles of justice and humanity. We have requested the U.N. Security Council to take decisive and expeditious action under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter to enforce its decisions and restore the territorial integrity and unity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"We urge the world community to take forceful and decisive steps for peace in Bosnia. These actions must include:

"One, lifting of the arms embargo against Bosnia-Herzegovina; two, use of force against heavy weapons which are being employed against civilian population centers in Bosnia-Herzegovina; three, interdiction of arms supplies to the Serbs; four, revision of the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia to enable them to take enforcement action; five, expansion of these forces by addition of troops from other countries; and six, a decision by the Security Council not to accept the unjust fait accompli in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Prince Bandar Bin Sultan)


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Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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To Tell the Truth: Reviving the "Strategic Consensus"; This Time Against Islam

Hadar, Leon T. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 18.


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To Tell the Truth: Reviving the "Strategic Consensus"; This Time Against Islam
One of the few contributions of President Ronald Reagan's first secretary of state, Alexander Haig, to American diplomacy was the coining of the term "strategic consensus." Haig argued that instead of continuing to implement President Carter's Middle East agenda by focusing on a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, Washington should place that problem on the back burner and try to devise a strategic consensus (SC) between pro-American Middle Eastern states, including Israel, aimed at containing the then-existing Soviet threat in the Middle East.

Faulty Assumptions
The underlying assumption was that Arab and Israeli fears of Soviet destabilization and expansionism in the Middle East were so great--especially after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the revolution in Iran--that they would outweigh the problems dividing Jews and Arabs. In Haig's fantasy, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries would be brought together under American leadership to deal with the external Soviet danger after agreeing to put aside the more "local" issues. (The supposed model for the Arab-Israel SC was the Greek-Turkish willingness to cooperate, despite their historical disputes, under the umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.)
The SC eventually became a major component of Reagan's Middle Eastern policies. Indeed, this writer recalls standing with other reporters on a sunny day in 1983 in the White House Rose Garden and listening to President Reagan explaining to visiting King Fahd of Saudi Arabia how the Muslim "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan and the "imprisoned" Jews in the Soviet Union faced the same long-term threat from international communism, implying that they were united in some sort of anti-Soviet global alliance.

Subsequent developments, ranging from Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon to the Palestinian intifada beginning in late 1987, demonstrated that the SC concept was nothing more than a diplomatic pipe dream. The unsolved Arab-Israeli conflict, not Soviet expansionism, remained the major cause of instability in the Middle East. Without a solution to that problem, Washington found it impossible to create the pro-American Arab-Israeli alliance.

Rather, by ceasing to emphasize the Palestinian problem, the U.S. permitted Israel's Likud government to move ahead with its annexationist policies and the invasion of Lebanon. At the same time, the simmering Arab- Israeli conflict provided opportunities for Moscow to exploit the resulting anti-American attitudes in the region.

The Emerging Muslim Bogeyman
There are signs that some foreign-policy thinkers in Washington are trying to revive the now moribund SC by suggesting that Iran-sponsored Islamic radicalism should force Israelis and Arabs to unite under an American umbrella against this common threat.

Although the Likud government initiated the campaign against the "Islamic Menace," the successor Labor government has taken it to new heights. In numerous public statements and interviews, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has suggested, for example, that Iran is on a "megamaniacal" quest to dominate the Middle East empire and is on the verge of developing an "Islamic Bomb.”

In an address to the Knesset last year, Rabin set the tone for the campaign, saying that Israel's "struggle against murderous Islamic terror" is "meant to awaken the world, which is lying in slumber." The "great danger inherent in Islamic fundamentalism. . .threatens the peace of the world in the forthcoming years," he warned. "The danger of death is at our doorstep.”

Such statements were followed by leaks to the press attributed to Israeli "military" and "intelligence" sources describing the threat Iran, through its support to the Islamists, poses to various Arab regimes. Other Israeli-inspired reports detailed Iranian ties through Sudan and the Islamic Hamas to Muslim groups in the West, including the United States.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and some other U.S. Jewish organizations have been disseminating this Israeli "line of the day" quite effectively, and syndicated columnists, "terrorism experts" and members of Congress have recycled the Islam/Iran threat sufficiently to lend it more legitimacy.

Israel has for years seen Iran as an ally against the Arab world.

The irony, of course, is that Israel has for years seen Iran, even after the Islamic radicals seized power, as an ally against the Arab world, and that it was Israel's Likud government that helped to build the power of the Islamic groups in Israeli-occupied territories as a counterweight to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The current Israeli campaign, however, has several goals: justifying the continuing repression in the occupied territories, and, in particular, the expulsion of the more than 400 Muslim Palestinians to Lebanon; diverting attention from Israel's own nuclear military program; and playing up Israel's strategic significance to the West vis-ΰ-vis the new global "threat," now that Communism is dead.

Intertwined with all of these objectives is the desire to place the Palestinian issue on the back burner. The thesis that an Iranled Islamist campaign poses the major threat to the West and its Arab allies makes the solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict seem less urgent. Moreover, Israel can claim in that context to be providing security to moderate Arab regimes.

Arab and American Responses
Interestingly enough, such arguments are producing interest in Egypt. In the Egyptian publication As-Siyassi Al-Dawla (International Affairs), Nabil Abdel-Fatah, the head of Al Ahram's Institute of Strategic Studies, discusses the possibility of Israel being integrated into a "new Middle East" where the "energies that have been channeled into dealing with the [Arab-Israeli] conflict will be directed against the new enemy.”

Such thinking reflects growing concern in Egypt over the threat to the government of Islamic radicalism. Taking advantage of public perceptions of governmental indifference and corruption, the Islamist groups have launched a violent campaign against the government.

Instead of dealing effectively with the economic and social problems of the country, the Egyptian government instead seems intent on portraying Tehran as responsible for the political instability. (Many analysts believe that, even without Iranian financing, some of the Islamic groups would have been active and enjoyed public support.)
Egypt, like Israel, also is concerned that the end of the Cold War, combined with the economic problems in the United States, is producing a mood in the American public and Congress that will not support the huge U.S. Treasury subsidy program to the two Camp David Agreement signatories. Like Israel, therefore, Cairo is interested in reviving its strategic significance to Washington in the post-Cold War era.

Indeed, during their recent and separate visits to Washington, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israel's Rabin, using the bombing of New York's World Trade Center as a backdrop, seemed to be reading from the same radical- Islam-threat script. As they conferred with President Clinton, met with congressional leaders and took part in media appearances, both portrayed the terrorist act in New York as part of a global, Iranian-financed conspiracy that not only threatens Israel and Egypt, but also is being directed against the United States.

Echoing those sentiments, Israel's new Likud leader and "terrorism expert," Benjamin Netanyahu, suggested that the World Trade center bombing "is not the work of a solitary madman" but was "done by deliberate and systematic organizations of murder, and here you're talking about the spread of terror, organized Islamic terror, right into the heart of the United States, to the heart of New York City.

"Not Nearly" Israel's Interest
"I've seen in the past that it takes a concerted effort on the part of Israel to explain to the American public," Netanyahu said, "that it is their interest, their security, their well-being that is at stake and not merely ours.”

Such crude propaganda, reinforced by alien images of Muslim clerics like Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, is beginning to filter into the policymaking processes of the Clinton administration. Such a threat also is a convenient tool for mobilizing public support for maintaining current national security and intelligence community budgets.

However, a new anti-Islamist "strategic consensus" like the old anti- Soviet one suffers from the same intellectual disability. Both have reversed the cause and effect of the problems they address. The Iranians, like the Soviets in their time, are not the cause but the exploiters of the region's problems.

Diverting attention from the real problems in the region only plays into the hands of the Iranian regime and the radical Islamic groups. Perpetuating a perception of a coming West-vs.-Islam war has the power of self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other hand, an Arab-Israeli peace agreement followed by the economic reconstruction of the Middle East would in the long run be the best, and perhaps only, defense against both Islamic and Jewish radicalism.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Hadar, Leon T
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Why Are There Israeli- But Not Mexican-American Dual Nationals?


Halsell, Grace. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 19.


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Special Report: Why Are There Israeli - But Not Mexican-American Dual Nationals?

America is the home of many faiths and many nationalities. Recently, we have seen that a U.S. businessman can be "called home" to serve as the prime minister of Serbia. While the unusual appointment of Milan Panic, some 20 years after he emigrated to California to found a multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical company, drew some media attention, the press in general ignores the large number of Americans who vote in Israeli elections, fight in Israeli wars and whose first allegiance belongs not to the U.S. but to the Jewish state.

While many immigrants who become Americans express nostalgia and, in most instances, a love for the old country, they are not torn as to their first allegiance or loyalty. Nor, before the creation of Israel, were many Jewish immigrants to North America. Zionism, however, taught them that regardless of where they were born, or where they lived, they had an allegiance to a Jewish state.

American-born Jonathan Jay Pollard, who perhaps stole more secrets from the U.S. than has any other spy in American history, said he felt compelled to put the "interests of my state" ahead of his own. Although as a U.S. Navy counter-intelligence specialist he had a top-secret security clearance, by "my state" he meant the state of Israel.

Literally tens of thousands of Americans still holding U.S. passports admit they feel a primary allegiance to the state of Israel. In many instances, these Americans vote in Israeli elections, wear Israeli uniforms and fight in Israeli wars. Many are actively engaged both in the confiscation of Palestinian lands and in the Israeli political system. Three examples come to mind:

One is Rabbi Meir Kahane, who founded the militant Jewish Defense League in the U.S. in the 1960s, then emigrated to Israel where, eventually, he was elected to the Knesset. Until he was shot and killed at one of his U.S. fund- raising rallies in 1990, the Brooklyn-born rabbi shuttled between Tel Aviv and New York, where he recruited militant American Jews for his activities in Israel against Palestinians.

Another Jewish American, James Mahon from Alexandria, Virginia, reportedly was on a secret mission to kill PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat when he was shot in 1980 by an unknown assailant. When he was shot, Mahon held an American M-16 in his hand and a U.S. passport in his pocket.

Then there was Alan Harry Goodman, an American Jew who left his home in Baltimore, Maryland, flew to Israel and served in the Israeli army. Then, on April 11, 1982, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, he walked, alone, to Al-Aqsa, Jerusalem's most holy Islamic shrine, where he opened fire, killing two Palestinians and wounding others. Both the U.S. and Israeli governments played down the incident, as did the media.

The examples of Kahane, Mahon and Goodman raise the question of when a U.S. citizen ceases to be, or should cease to be, a U.S. citizen. U.S. law at one time clearly stated that an American citizen owed first allegiance to the United States. A U.S. citizen could not fight in a foreign army or hold high office in a foreign country without risking expatriation.

The 1940 Nationality Act
Section 401 (e) of the 1940 Nationality Act provides that a U.S. citizen, whether by birth or naturalization, "shall lose his [U.S.] nationality by ... voting in a political election in a foreign state.”

This law was tested many times. In 1958, for instance, an American citizen named Perez voted in a Mexican election. The case went to the Supreme Court, where the majority opinion held that Perez must lose his American nationality. The court said Congress could provide for expatriation as a reasonable way of preventing embarrassment to the United States in its foreign relations.

Then came the case in 1967 of an American Jew, Beys Afroyim. As a result of his case, U.S. law changed drastically. Afroyim, born in Poland in 1895, emigrated to America in 1912, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1926. In 1950, aged 55, he emigrated to Israel and became an Israeli citizen. In 1951 Afroyim voted in an Israeli Knesset election and in five political elections that followed.

After living in Israel for a decade, Afroyim wished to return to New York. In 1960, he asked the U.S. Consulate in Haifa for an American passport. The Department of State refused the application, invoking section 401 (e) of the Nationality Act--the same ruling that had stripped the American citizen named Perez of his U.S. citizenship.

Attorneys acting for Afroyim took his case to a Washington, DC District Court, which upheld the law. His attorneys appealed to the Court of Appeals. This court also upheld the law. The attorneys for Afroyim then moved the case on to the Supreme Court. Here, with Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, Lyndon Johnson's former attorney and one of the most powerful Jewish Americans, casting the swing vote, the court voted five to four in favor of Afroyim. The court held that the U.S. government had no right to "rob" Afroyim of his citizenship.

Zionism taught allegiance to a Jewish state.

The court, reversing its previous judgment as regards the Mexican American, ruled that Afroyim had not shown "intent" to lose citizenship by voting in Israeli elections.

Did Golda Meir relinquish her U.S. passport at some point in her evolution from Milwaukee schoolteacher to prime minister of Israel? U.S. State Department officials said they did not know.

"State Department officials should know," former INS Commissioner Leonel Castillo told me. "If you look at it strictly, she should have relinquished her passport.”

Castillo added that while Washington claims it has a "good neighbor" policy with Mexico, the U.S. does not permit Mexicans to hold dual nationality. "We make them become either U.S. or Mexican--you can't be both," he said, adding: "The U.S., in its special relationship with Israel, has become very sympathetic to allowing Israelis and Americans to retain two nationalities and allowing U.S. citizens to hold public office in Israel.”

Asked if he knew of any other countries with so many dual citizens, Castillo said, "No, I don't know any. This U.S.-Israel relationship is a special situation.”

He also viewed it as dangerous: "It is unknown to what extent the special relationship that allows Americans to vote in Israeli elections, fight in Israeli wars and hold Israeli public office might be carried.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Halsell, Grace
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Hate Watch: Spy Case Update; The Anti-Defamation League Fights Back

Marshall, Rachelle. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 20.


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Hate Watch: Spy Case Update; The Anti-Defamation League Fights Back
Former policeman Tom Gerard returned to San Francisco from the Philippines on May 7 and was immediately arrested on four counts of conspiracy and stealing government documents. The stolen records are police intelligence files that were ordered destroyed in 1990 and contain information on thousands of individuals and hundreds of groups ranging across the political spectrum. Some 1,200 of the individuals listed in Gerard's files are Arab Americans who have never broken the law.

Gerard allegedly incorporated the police files into his own intelligence- gathering operation and shared the information with Roy Bullock, a long-time undercover agent for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). As a result, much of the police intelligence illegally retained by Gerard ended up in ADL's files. Bullock has admitted that he and Gerard cooperated in spying for the FBI as well as for ADL, and that they sold intelligence on anti-apartheid groups to the South African government.

Gerard's trial date will be announced on July 23. Meanwhile, Arab Americans, civil liberties advocates, and community activists are waiting for the other shoe to drop. The San Francisco district attorney's office said that although the investigation was continuing, it was unlikely that additional indictments--if any--would be handed down before late June. May Jaber, of the National Association of Arab Americans, expressed the feeling of many interest groups when she called for the broadest possible investigation.

"We do not want Tom Gerard to be made the scapegoat," she said following his arrest. "We have been informed that other officers and other police departments have contributed to this spy list and we want the whole truth to come out.”

The Arab-American community and others also are waiting to see whether ADL will be indicted and on what charges. A San Francisco police affidavit released last April accused the most powerful and well-financed Jewish organization in America of invading the privacy of the individuals named in its files, and of failing to report Bullock's employment even though he has been on the ADL payroll for more than 30 years. On April 10, an unnamed "source" told the San Francisco Examiner that "top officials of the ADL are the ultimate targets" of the district attorney's investigation. But the assistant D.A. in charge of special operations quickly denied the report, saying, "Right now the primary focus of our investigation is Tom Gerard." Gerard has been offered immunity from serving jail time in return for his full cooperation.

Even in the absence of an indictment, ADL has come out fighting--with advertisements and op-ed columns in the Jewish press, interviews with editors of major newspapers, meetings with Jewish organizations to rally support, a barrage of letters to the editor, and an op-ed column in The New York Times (which carried a column critical of ADL on the same page, but has yet to carry a news story on the case).

Foxman's words are a call to Jews to circle the wagons.

In an interview with a local Jewish weekly, the Northern California Bulletin, that turned into a tirade, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman lashed out at the San Francisco district attorney; the newspapers that enabled "the D.A. to try us in the media"; critics who call ADL information-gathering activities "spying"; and, for good measure, all other "bastards" who are "anti- Semitic, undemocratic, and anti-American.”

Bulletin reporter Garth Wolkoff described Foxman as behaving like "a general dressing down his troops" during the one-hour session, "speaking angrily of conspiracy and at times fuming as he turned several shades of red." In response to questioning, Foxman said ADL would continue to monitor people or groups that "pose a threat to Jews" and defended the organization's spy operation against the African National Congress on grounds the ANC "were violent, they were anti-Semitic, they were pro-PLO, and they were anti-Israel." Communists, too, are "pro-PLO and anti-Jewish," Foxman added.

An op-ed column by T.J. Anthony in the Northern California Bulletin three weeks later began simply: "The Jewish community is under attack," and complained that Jews were victims of "the worst kind of prejudice and stereotyping." In a four-page advertisement headed "The Big Lie," published in Jewish newspapers in late May, Foxman asserted that "There is no ADL spy network. That is a lie!" He called charges that ADL had investigated organizations such as NAACP and Greenpeace "pure nonsense," adding that ADL's mandate was "to monitor and investigate extremist and hate groups.”

The ADL ad reproduced as a "sample of what the hate peddlers are saying" the cover of a White Aryan Resistance pamphlet portraying grossly caricatured Jewish faces along with the headline "Cops Bust Jew ADL." The implication, of course, is that all those who accuse ADL of spying are anti-Semites. Foxman carried the point further in his New York Times column of May 28, charging ADL's critics with something "more sinister" than irresponsibility. By exploiting the myth that Jews have too much power in the U.S. and spreading the "big lie" about ADL, Foxman wrote, its critics have launched "an attack in the broadest sense on the community relations and political efforts of the entire Jewish community.”

Foxman's words, like almost all of the published statements in defense of ADL, are a call to Jews to circle the wagons. The logic is simple: criticism of ADL is motivated by anti-Semitism and is a threat to all Jews. Therefore, for the sake of their own survival, Jews are obliged to come to ADL's defense.

Simple Logic, Complex Truth
But if the logic is simple, the truth is more complex. The contents of ADL's files directly contradict Foxman's claim that the organization targets only hate groups. Women in Black, the Northern California Ecumenical Council, and KQED-TV's board of directors are hardly hate-mongers. Nor are members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Yet, according to San Francisco chapter representative Maha Jaber (May Jaber's sister), "nearly the entire membership of ADC is listed in ADL computers." Attorney Marc Van der Hout of the National Lawyers' Guild, which is listed in ADL's files, said, "I am a Jew myself, and when I see the breadth of the organizations in these files that the ADL has conducted surveillance on, it is very clear to me that they have sort of lost touch with reality in terms of organizations that are engaged in real anti-Semitic activity.”

In fact, ADL is less concerned with bigotry than with promoting its own rightwing agenda and silencing criticism of Israel. In a Village Voice article of May 11, Robert Friedman reported that ADL's director of fact-finding, Irwin Suall, regards the real danger to Jews as coming from "a coalition of leftists, Blacks, and Arabs." In pursuit of these perceived enemies, ADL obviously does not stop at "fact-finding." ADL-investigator Bullock, for instance, not only joined ADC under a false name but tried to recruit neo-Nazis into the ADC in order to discredit the Arab-American organization. A more common tactic of the ADL is blacklisting Middle East scholars and other analysts who express criticism of Israel.

A Common ADL Tactic
At its annual meeting in 1984, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) condemned ADL for distributing a 16-page list of teachers and researchers at major universities and describing them as "pro-Arab propagandists" who "use their anti-Zionism as a guise for their deeply felt anti-Semitism." A MESA resolution accused ADL of making "false, vague, or unsubstantiated assertions." In 1991, when Noam Chomsky was scheduled to speak in Berkeley, 17 UC Berkeley professors signed a letter accusing him of defending anti-Semites and his sponsor, the Middle East Children's Alliance, of being pro-PLO, pro-Saddam Hussain, and anti-Israel. The letter contained the kind of details--and gross distortions--that are the hallmark of ADL efforts to smear those it opposes. In his book They Dare to Speak Out, former Congressman Paul Findley quotes Chomsky as saying, "Virtually every talk I give is monitored, and reports of their alleged contents are sent on to the league to be incorporated in my file." He added that whenever he is scheduled to speak, ADL distributes literature in advance containing distorted or fabricated accounts of his views in an attempt to identify him as an anti-Semite.

But regardless of how ADL uses its files, even their very existence poses a threat to the nearly 10,000 individuals whose names are contained in them. As New York Times columnist Russell Baker pointed out in a recent column about the McCarthy era, the very act of "naming names" was harmful since the word "name" became a synonym for "possibly treasonous." Given ADL's insistence that it only targets extremists, it follows that anyone listed in its files becomes automatically suspect. Even worse, as Robert Friedman points out, since ADL files are not open to public scrutiny, false information cannot be challenged. In effect, he concludes, "the ADL has become the Jewish thought police.”

The Anti-Defamation League will undoubtedly pull out all the stops in an effort to preserve its image as a defender of human rights. But despite the blustering claims of Foxman and other ADL officials, the evidence so far made public in the current spy case investigation reveals how false that image is.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Marshall, Rachelle
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Speaking Out: In Bosnia, Clinton Could Make a Giant Stride for the Rule of Law

Findley, Paul. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 21.


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Speaking Out: In Bosnia, Clinton Could Make a Giant Stride for the Rule of Law
President Bill Clinton's faltering response to the rape of Bosnia is a misfortune for world order, not to mention its negative effect on U.S. influence in international affairs and on the personal political fortunes of our chief executive.

The problem is not just indecision. Still worse is waffling--shifting from one decision to another and back again with a rapidity that the morning headlines and the nightly television news reports have difficulty tracking. The spectacle is reminiscent of the darkest days of the administration of President Jimmy Carter, when his decisions literally sent the U.S. military shuttling back and forth in response to Iran's seizure of U.S. diplomats in Tehran. First, Carter was speeding aircraft carriers and other warships to the Gulf in a massive military threat to Iranian authorities, then the vessels were pulled back, then sent forward, then pulled back.

A Series of Contradictions
Clinton has indulged in a long series of conflicting and contradictory forecasts, predictions and declarations of U.S. policies. He has publicly discussed options without first reaching a decision, always a hazardous approach to public policy. Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland writes: "American influence on the continent now risks being wobbled away as Europeans conclude that the United States is unsure about what it wants and even less certain about how to get it.”

Early on, Clinton urged air strikes against Serb positions and arming the Muslims. Then he backed away from both positions. A week later he urged "tougher measures" in Bosnia. He urged lifting the embargo against arms shipments to the beleaguered Muslims but never insisted. Then he decided to send U.S. troops to Macedonia as "peacekeepers," but he has accepted a policy that lets Serbs keep territorial gains in Bosnia. In the plan, U.S. aircraft would help protect several "safe havens" for Muslims.

Serb leaders, with U.S. acquiescence, have successfully employed a series of ruses, the latest being the delays to permit a vote by their parliament on accepting a peace plan offered by the United Nations and then a plebiscite on the same question by citizens themselves. These schemes won the Serb forces weeks in which to extend and consolidate their conquests.

The choices are admittedly tough. If I were in Clinton's shoes, I would not send U.S. military forces to the former Yugoslavia unless they were a part of a major U.N. or NATO military operation that is determined to force Serbia to retreat from territory it has illegally taken. In my view, anything short of that goal is unworthy of the risk our military personnel would face.

The world must be policed, but no single nation can fill that role or should be expected to.

The scene, dark as it is, leaves open an opportunity for Clinton leadership. It should inspire Clinton to take the lead in creating a better system for world policing.

The Balkan disaster demonstrates dramatically the need for a standing police force under the command of the United Nations Security Council, one that includes air squadrons and rapid deployment ground units. Such a force was contemplated when the U.N. Charter was ratified. Winston Churchill called for it. Present U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has repeatedly urged it. The force should have been created in the aftermath of the Gulf war. Sadly, it still does not exist.

It should be plain to everyone that the world must be policed, but that no single nation--not even the United States--can fill that role or should be expected to do so. It should also be obvious that the United Nations Security Council is the logical institution to create, possess and direct a military force able to act promptly as world policeman.

And it should also be self-evident that the chief executive of the world's only superpower is the logical person to set the creative process in motion.

Under Clinton prodding, the members of the Security Council should endow the council with a police force that can respond immediately when trouble occurs. Even if it comes too late for Bosnia, it is urgently needed. Other crises are inevitable down the road and the very existence of a U.N. police force will tend to moderate any eruption.

This is Bill Clinton's opportunity. He can make a giant stride for the rule of law in the settlement of international disputes and, in the process, shed his personal albatross of weakness and indecision.

If he grasps the challenge, a silver lining will emerge from the black, ugly cloud of Serbian barbarity. If not, humankind is likely condemned to other dreadful calamities, and these may be just over the horizon.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Findley, Paul
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Media Watch: NY Times-Boston Globe Merger Bad News for Mideast Objectivity

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 28.


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Media Watch: NY Times-Boston Globe Merger Bad News for Mideast Objectivity
Since a huge percentage of the Americans who pay any attention at all to the news get their information from television, radio newscasts or newspapers without much foreign news input, does it matter that The New York Times has just purchased the Boston Globe? For Americans concerned about objective Middle East coverage, the short answer is "yes.”

Those who set America's information agenda get a great deal of it from daily newspapers and journals of opinion. Top policymakers in the U.S. government are no more likely to walk into a morning staff meeting without first glancing through the Washington Post and New York Times than to appear in shorts and sandals.

The editors who put together the television news have, in the course of the day, also looked at The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor, or pertinent clippings from them. By the end of the day, Pentagon officials going home on the metro, and U.S. ambassadors in the most distant capitals, are reading clipping files that also cover whatever was carried in their areas of concern by the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Washington Times, and Miami Herald. The files very likely also will include clippings from Time, Newsweek, USA Today and from additional newspapers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and elsewhere, depending upon which have their own correspondents in other cities at home and abroad of interest to that reader's agency.

In Congress, legislative staffers are poring over not only all of those journals but others dealing with their employers' legislative specialities, and regional, state and local newspapers pertinent to their employers' re-election prospects. A negative editorial or investigative report, or persistent focus on an issue by a publication from any of these categories, can change the voting pattern of a congressmember--for better or for worse.

Most avid readers of all are television and radio news program producers, newspaper editorial writers, talk show hosts, and think tank intellectuals/writers/commentators and lobbyists who, along with more specialized executive and legislative branch officials, peruse the magazines, newsletters and pertinent journals for items relevant to their fields. For those who wonder how the "MacNeil/Lehrer News-Hour" selects its guests, the answer is by watching who's written a recent article stating a clear point of view on the topic to be discussed.

The silencing of an independent voice is regrettable.

Virtually all non-local information carried on television, radio, or less prestigious newspapers originates, in writing, from the wire services, in journals of the kinds described above, or with readers of such journals. The silencing of an independent voice, particularly in an area that, along with the two Californias, can claim authorship of far more than its share of the original ideas that eventually are regulated or legislated in Washington or packaged and sold in New York, is regrettable.

Announcement of the $1.1 billion merger agreement emphasized, of course, that the Globe, whose 500,000 daily and 800,000 Sunday circulation makes it the New England leader and one of the top 15 daily newspapers in the U.S., will retain "full editorial autonomy" for five years. Sixty-eight percent of the voting stock of Affiliated Publications, which owns the Globe and a one-third interest in 19 magazines, is owned by two family trusts.

One is composed of heirs of Eban Jordan, who founded the Globe in 1872 and who also founded Jordan Marsh department stores. The other trust is composed of heirs of Charles H. Taylor, who was 27 when he was brought in a year after the Globe's founding to reorganize it.

Both the Taylor and Jordan family trusts expire in 1996. It was to avert the risk of a hostile takeover at that time that Affiliated Publications Chairman William O. Taylor, 60, and his cousin, Affiliated President Benjamin Taylor, 45, sold the Globe to the Times, after unsuccessful negotiations with the Times Mirror Co. of Los Angeles, The Washington Post, the Tribune company of Chicago, and the Newhouse family publishing organization.

A negotiation with The New York Times fell through last winter when members of the Taylor family sought to retain greater control over the Globe than the Times was willing to grant. The success of the renewed negotiations was based on Times concessions over how the Globe would be managed. Under terms of the sale, which still must be approved by stockholders of both companies, the Times will pay 15 percent of the purchase price in cash and exchange all of Affiliated's stock for New York Times common shares. This will not dilute control of the Times, however. Voting stock in The New York Times is restricted to members of the Sulzberger family.

The New York Times, America's largest metropolitan and Sunday newspaper, has daily circulation of 1,230,000 and Sunday circulation of 1,812,000. It also owns 31 regional newspapers, 20 magazines, 5 television and radio stations, and a half interest (with The Washington Post) in the International Herald Tribune. Times syndicated columns appear in newspapers throughout the United States.

From Seventh to Fifth Place
The merger will give The New York Times company combined average week-day and Saturday circulation of 2.5 million for all of its dailies, including the Globe. This raises the Times-owned daily newspapers from seventh largest in national circulation over Thompson Newspapers, with 2.1 million, and Dow Jones (Wall Street Journal), with 2.4 million, to fifth place, behind Gannett with 5.9 million, Knight-Ridder with 3.7 million, Newhouse with 3 million, and Times Mirror with 2.8 million.

For many years, Americans who followed Middle East events closely complained that the only nationally circulated daily newspaper providing objective coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and international and national affairs related to it, was the Christian Science Monitor, published in Boston. After some costly media decisions in the 1980s by its publisher, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and some unrelated church financial and membership problems, that newspaper no longer speaks out so clearly on Middle East matters.

In very recent years, in the writer's opinion, the consistently liberal Boston Globe has been more outspoken in its criticism of human rights offenses by the Israeli military occupation and some other Israeli policies than the Monitor. Unless the Globe retains a remarkable degree of independence from its owners and its advertisers, the record of The New York Times suggests that both New England voices henceforth will be muted on Middle East matters.

As for The New York Times, the sheer volume of its Middle East coverage is rivaled only by that of America's other daily "newspaper of record," The Washington Post, and perhaps by the Los Angeles Times, which also maintains its own Middle East correspondents. With a very high percentage of Jewish readership in its Manhattan home base, New York Times coverage of Israel is generally more inclusive than that of the Post, while the Post's coverage of the Arab world is at least equal to that of the Times. Their relative fairness and objectivity vary from year to year with changes of editors in the home offices and correspondents abroad.

At the time of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, however, the national pro-Israel establishment was extremely critical of The Washington Post, actually stationing "observers" in the editorial room while coverage was being edited, and organizing an informal but effective boycott of the Post, encouraging Jewish advertisers and subscribers to transfer their business to the Post's fledgling rival, the Washington Times.

What was remarkable was the fact that the Post permitted such blatant editorial intimidation, which, in this writer's opinion, has permanently affected Post coverage not only of Israel but also of activities of Israel's extremely influential lobby and its supporters in the United States. Currently, with editors of Jewish heritage at virtually every relevant level, the Post seems consistently more inhibited in its coverage of Israel than its tiny local competitor, the Washington Times, or than The New York Times.

Ownership of the Post is largely in the hands of heirs to Eugene Meyer, a Jewish businessman-philanthropist who married a Christian woman. Members of the family have displayed a distinct pro-Israel bias for many years. Whether the newspaper's Middle East caution derives from bias by the publishers or editors, fear of renewed advertiser retaliation, or all of the above, the effects are unmistakable.

Locally, frequent pro-Palestinian human rights demonstrations at the White House, State Department and Israeli Embassy are not mentioned by the newspaper. By contrast, the Post does cover other Middle East-oriented demonstrations, such as those against the Rafsanjani government in Iran or in favor of U.S. intervention to halt the genocide in Bosnia.

Nationally, the same inhibition applies. With the publication this year of The Passionate Attachment, an extremely important book about the 45-year U.S.-Israeli relationship by former Under Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations George Ball and his historian son, Douglas Ball, the Post barely reacted, even though the book found its way onto the Post's list of best-sellers in local bookstores.

Instead of approaching another ex-U. S. official to review the book, the Post finally carried a review by a German-born Israeli, Walter Laqueur, whose Zionist bias is beyond dispute. Laqueur barely referred to the book, instead denigrating the authors.

Consistent "Attitudes”

In the case of the New York Times, consistent "attitudes" toward Israel and the Palestinians are easier to describe and document. The Sulzberger family owners are Jewish, and so are a great many senior editors at The New York Times. The Sulzbergers were not Zionists, however, until after the 1967 war. Even now the Times, edited with a readership sophisticated about Israel in mind, generally reflects a viewpoint sympathetic to Israel's Labor Party rather than simply "pro-Israel.”

Only five of its columnists, all of them Jewish, have written regularly on Israeli affairs in recent years. Liberal, Boston-based Anthony Lewis consistently and effectively criticizes Israeli extremism, whether Likud- or Labor-originated, and supports positions of the Israeli peace parties.

European-based Flora Lewis, who no longer writes a regular column, also criticizes violations of Palestinian rights. Leslie Gelb, a former Carter administration official, who has stopped writing to take a Clinton administration position, was critical of Israel's Likud government but muted his criticism of Israeli policies after Labor returned to power.

Republican William Safire has been a consistent apologist for even the most extreme Likud policies, and declined to vote for former colleague George Bush in the 1992 elections, obviously because of the pressure the Bush administration was putting on Israel. Columnist A. M. Rosenthal, a vigorous opponent of human rights violations in the former Soviet Union and present-day China, maintains no pretext of consistency when it comes to Israel.

What Likud decrees, and whatever any Israeli government does to the Palestinians, he defends. Not without reason, New York Times staffers are said to refer to his "On My Mind" column as "Out of My Mind." What is significant, however, is not columnist Rosenthal's utter disdain for objectivity or consistency where Israel is concerned, but the fact that he was managing editor of the Times for many years--under the Sulzbergers.

Nor in those days did he keep his passion for Israel hidden. Then-New York Times Beirut correspondent Thomas Friedman has described returning to New York prepared to resign over the fact that the Times had toned down an article he wrote criticizing the Israeli bombardment of defenseless Lebanese civilians during Israel's 1982 siege of West Beirut. Instead of engaging him in a shouting match, however, Rosenthal gave him a raise, which Friedman accepted. It is an editor's right to exercise his editorial prerogative, and a reporter should take any raise offered. But, Friedman's account does confirm that Rosenthal did exercise that right on behalf of Israel when he was managing editor, and Rosenthal's present columns confirm what extreme views he holds on the subject.

However, Rosenthal has been replaced as executive editor by Max Frankel. Since the question today is how acquisition of the Globe by the Times will affect future access of the New England public to objective news about the Middle East, two recent examples are pertinent.

On Oct. 8, 1990, 17 Palestinian Muslims were killed outright and 400 others injured during an assault by Israeli border guards and police on worshippers at the Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem, one of Islam's holiest sites. The New York Times published the initial Israeli version of events, which claimed falsely that the massacre began with an assault on Jewish worshippers praying at Jerusalem's nearby Western Wall.

Suspicions arose immediately because no Israelis were injured. Subsequently, videotapes taken simultaneously from three different parts of the city conclusively proved the Israeli version, reported at length in The New York Times, to be totally false. The videotapes were shown in Jerusalem to the then-Times Jerusalem correspondents, Joel Brinkley and his Israeli wife, Sabra Chartrand, by Michael Emery, a California professor of journalism. The Times, however, did not retract.

It was only after Emery brought the videotapes to the United States that the unprovoked nature of the Israeli attack was exposed by CBS's "60 Minutes" and, among other publications, by the Village Voice in New York. To this day, the Times has never retracted or corrected its series of erroneous reports. It is a revealing example of how the Times selectively exercises its role as America's principal "newspaper of record," and of why the American public and even U.S. historians are so woefully misinformed on events in the Middle East and their fallout in U.S. political life.

This year, revelations that B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League has employed a paid informer to infiltrate peace activist and Arab-American groups for more than 30 years in San Francisco, that it has in its files information stolen from the San Francisco police department, and that some of that same stolen information had found its way to Israel and to South Africa have been widely publicized in the San Francisco Bay area media.

As the story unfolded, there were further reports that the ADL files contained 12,000 names, 4,000 of them Arab Americans, that ADL surreptitiously had circulated derogatory (and false) information from those files to discredit critics of Israel, and that it had conducted similar activities in seven U.S. cities. The press in Los Angeles, where a raid by federal authorities on ADL offices turned up additional evidence, also has reported the story.

The New York Times, however, which has bureaus in both cities, has reported none of this. Instead it printed an op-ed "dialogue" on ADL's work, including a defense of the organization's name gathering, by its national director, Abraham Foxman.

The Times also printed a feature on the paid ADL informer, Roy Bullock, which depicted him as an antique dealer whose concerns about "anti-Semitism" had involved him with a corrupt San Francisco police officer who had sold stolen files to South Africa, Israel, and, just incidently, to Bullock for the ADL. The article, without any accompanying news accounts explaining that among those spied upon by the ADL through Bullock or other informers were the Mills College Board of Trustees, directors of public television station KQED, and virtually every Jewish peace group and Arab-American social or political action group in California, would be meaningless to New York Times readers. But it enables the Times to say, quite misleadingly, that it has "covered" the story.

So, does the acquisition of the Boston Globe by The New York Times have an impact on the New England public's access to objective information about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, its effect on U.S. politics, and its significance to America's position in the world? Each independent media voice stilled makes it easier for those remaining, if they have axes to grind, to distort, by selectivity and omission, the current and permanent record. Unfortunately, on the Middle East, the Globe's new owners clearly have axes to grind.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Israel's U.S. Influence Network: CAMERA and FLAME; Pressuring U.S. Media

Kaidy, Mitchell. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 29.


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Israel's U.S. Influence Network: CAMERA and FLAME; Pressuring U.S. Media
In 1982, Israel's carefully groomed public image was badly buffetted by televised footage of Israel's invasion of Lebanon, the bombing and shelling of defenseless civilians in Beirut, and, finally, the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra-Shatila refugee camp. Recognizing what was happening to U.S. public perceptions of the Jewish state, some pro-Israel Americans went into action, laying the groundwork for the birth of two media-specific organizations.

That was 11 years ago, and those activists consisted mostly of irregulars spontaneously seeking to limit damage in the print media. By now, things are different. Better organized and financed, and more focused and sophisticated, the former irregulars now counter or suppress criticism of Israeli policies by maligning the critics with a ruthlessness that is unprecedented in American political life.

The first pressure group spawned by the Israeli invasion of Lebanon was CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), a non-profit, taxexempt educational/charitable organization incorporated in Massachusetts. It claims 20,000 members in local chapters, some on university campuses, across the nation.

CAMERA, in turn, spun off FLAME (Facts and Logic About the Middle East). Its address is a San Francisco post office box. It places expensive ads in politically sympathetic periodicals such as the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Harper's and Commentary, and sometimes in journalistic publications.

FLAME ads have dealt with Jewish settlements in Israeli-occupied territories, the status of Jerusalem, the $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees requested by Israel, and U.N. Security Council Resolution 242's land-for-peace formula for Middle East peace. Although FLAME revises and distorts history, as in its claim that "six Arab armies" confronted Jewish settlers in 1948, and that the Six-Day War of June 1967 was started by Arabs, it is temperate compared to CAMERA.

Boston-based CAMERA describes itself as a "non-denominational, educational media-watch group dedicated to the promotion of fair and balanced coverage of the Middle East." For years it has waged polemical war on National Public Radio, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (television) and their local affiliates, and, more recently, Cable News Network (CNN). Through its local chapters, CAMERA also confronts newspapers over their Middle East editorials. In self-published Media Alerts, as well as articles in Commentary magazine, published by the American Jewish Committee, CAMERA regularly characterizes reports or editorials with which it disagrees as "news manipulation," "unprincipled journalism," or "outright falsehood.”

The Attack on NPR
After years of vilification, CAMERA last year gained access to National Public Radio's archives, a feat without journalistic parallel, except perhaps The Washington Post's 1982 surrender to Israeli partisans who monitored its news operation during the invasion of Lebanon.

After examining NPR's files, CAMERA announced that scripts of 39 radio programs about the Middle East showed that the views of 43 Arabs and only 22 Israelis had been broadcast. CAMERA didn't report the approximate time alloted to each interviewee, nor did it professionally evaluate the commentaries' timeliness and news value, preferring instead to imply bias on the basis of simple arithmetic.

Last fall, CAMERA devoted four pages of its Media Report to NPR's alleged "pro-Arab bias" and an attack on NPR's Jerusalem reporter, Linda Gradstein, an Israeli national. The attack, entitled "A Study in News Manipulation," has been repeated twice in early 1993.

"CAMERA has long argued that National Public Radio offers biased coverage of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict," the CAMERA report states. "More particularly, CAMERA has maintained that the issues considered in the stories, the issues ignored by NPR, and the perspectives and rhetorical slant of NPR stories consistently fail to take account of Israeli concerns and Israeli perception of events. Rather, coverage is skewed toward the perspectives of Israel's enemies.”

CAMERA was particularly choleric over Gradstein's expression of her private view, in an interview she granted to her alumni publication in Jerusalem, that the Arabs now are ready for peace and that Israel should negotiate with the PLO about a Palestinian state. The point that CAMERA did not acknowledge in its attack was that Gradstein's views were private, and meant for a miniscule audience rather than dissemination throughout the United States on NPR broadcasts. Nor did CAMERA credibly establish that Gradstein's private views colored her professional objectivity in any way.

Instead, in June 1992, CAMERA representatives met with NPR officials to demand "strict NPR monitoring of their own journalists" and "prohibition against reporters employing NPR as a vehicle for advancing personal political views." The CAMERA representatives also presented NPR with a list of demands that included:

"An end to the practice of quoting both left-wing and right-wing Israeli groups" (thus leaving Israeli government officials as virtually the only acceptable sources in Israel).

"An end to broadcasting Palestinian allegations of Israeli wrongdoing without . . . verification" (but not the reverse).

"A policy of treating the suffering and deaths of Israelis with the same sympathetic attention as those of Palestinians.”

Besides NPR reporting from Israel and Israeli-occupied territories, CAMERA also singled out for criticism two specific NPR programs. They were: "Talk of the Nation" and "Fresh Air," which have presented a variety of viewpoints, ranging from those of Palestinian-American Edward Said to vehemently pro-Israel radio host Ze'ev Chafetz. Notwithstanding the fact that the preponderance of those interviewed on the programs attacked were Jewish, and some were Israeli, CAMERA remains choleric.

The Attack on Public Television
The sustained attacks on public television reveal CAMERA's carousel-like contradictions. Three weeks before many Public Broadcasting Service stations aired as part of the "Frontline" series a film entitled "Journey to the Occupied Lands," CAMERA's local chapters were mobilized to protest.

National CAMERA had mailed them a highly critical alert denouncing the program even before it was screened. What was the basis for CAMERA's clairvoyant truculence? It had recognized the names of the program's "biased" producers, and had evaluated negatively a program flyer, which it considered to be anti-Israel.

Many members wrote or telephoned their protests to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on the day the film was shown. Despite CAMERA's orchestrated protest campaign, however, stations that aired "Journey" reported audience response ran six-to-one in favor of the program.

CAMERA's disregard for even the theoretical norms of American journalism was revealed by its astonishingly contradictory stands in the cases of two films presented by some public television stations. One, "Days of Rage," presented the viewpoints of young Palestinians in the first months of the intifada. The other, "Israel: A Nation is Born," is a new series presented by former Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban.

CAMERA was among pro-Israel groups that successfully persuaded most stations that carried "Days of Rage" to enclose it in a "wrap-around" program that enabled critics to discuss the film and to present opposing viewpoints. When the same "wrap-around" procedure was suggested for public television stations electing to present "Israel: A Nation Is Born," however, CAMERA opposed it.

Battered by the criticisms of groups like CAMERA, and threats by Jewish groups to organize a boycott against donations to individual public television stations, WNET in New York and some other stations agreed to what station KQED in San Francisco called "unprecedented" rules laid down by the producers of the film about Israel. The producers ruled that it could not be presented in a "wrap-around" setting, that it had to be shown in prime time, and that the producer could veto whatever was scheduled before and after their film. CAMERA found nothing offensive when such conditions were added to a film which presented a purely Israeli point of view.

CAMERA's attack on CNN was launched in the pages of Commentary, the monthly magazine recently described by Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn as "a hospice of ordure." Object of the attack was a CNN program entitled "The Israel Connection," written by Kathy Slobogin and Mark Feldstein and presented in April 1991, immediately after the ejection of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The program's writers foresaw a declining strategic role for Israel in the post- Gulf war era. In response, CAMERA national president Andrea Levin charged that the CNN program "misrepresented by inaccurate reporting and distorted images" the post-Gulf war Israeli-American relationship.

Levin characterized the program as "a particularly insidious distortion of the record," a "calculated effort to advance a political agenda" and "a fully coherent landscape of falsehood." Decrying the "cumulative effect of misinformation on public sentiment," Levin wrote in her Commentary article: "The egregious anti-Israel bias in popular magazines, student journals, campus newspapers and many other publications reinforces the drumbeat of coverage in the mass media.”

No Gray Areas
For its part, CAMERA depicts Middle East issues in black and white, with no gray areas of doubts or complexity. According to CAMERA, Muslims are the villains, because they are Muslim; they hate Jews because they are Jewish. Have historians therefore been consistently wrong in concluding that Islam, which honors many Hebrew prophets, has been more tolerant of Jews than Christians have been? CAMERA thinks so.

Under the headline "Publishing Houses, Media Promote Bogus Mideast History," CAMERA advances the views of historian Bernard Lewis, who wrote in 1986: "The rewriting of the past is usually undertaken to achieve specific political aims. By depicting the great Arab Islamic expansion in the seventh century as a war of liberation rather than of conquest, the Arabs can free themselves of the charge, even in the distant past, of imperialism.”

Lewis, whose son Michael is chief of "opposition research" for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel's principal Washington lobby, is right on one point: Over many centuries, most Western and Eastern historians have credited the Muslim empire in the Iberian Peninsula with having brought cultural enlightenment and tolerance rather than violence to Europe. And that knowledge rankles revisionist Zionists.

Levin urges CAMERA supporters to "make a point to visit bookstores. . .and to note the lineup of books and periodicals available on the Middle East." If they find works by Noam Chomsky or Edward Said "posing as Middle East experts," they should "talk to the manager." Then CAMERA's newsletter recommends 30 books, including those by Fouad Ajami, Joan Peters, and Edward Alexander. The latter was skewered by Nation columnist Cockburn as one of the late extremist Rabbi Meir Kahane's "ushers, a parlor terrorist licking the boots of a real one.”

Levin takes a page out of Joan Peters' widely disparaged book, From Time Immemorial, when she states that "the mass of today's Palestinian Arabs are descendants of immigrants who arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries." Among publications, Levin indicts the National Geographic, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East, Webster's New World Encyclopedia and even the Encyclopedia Britannica for "unabashed inventions," and "mutilations of fact." She offers no documentation or authority for these attacks.

CAMERA promotes even more aggressive tactics against university libraries. The publication "CAMERA on CAMPUS" has advocated that students scour campus libraries for "offensive" books, and pressure universities to remove them.

CAMERA's Unending "Enemies" List Reads Like a Roll of Honor
In the course of producing a torrent of historical falsification and personalized vituperation, CAMERA has named as "enemies" a distinguished list of governmental, journalistic and academic leaders, Jewish and non-Jewish, whose writings or lectures have touched on contemporary Middle East events. Those who meet this description but don't find their names on the "enemies" list below need not despair. These are only a sample of people and publications named in CAMERA articles and advertisements in the past two years:

* George Ball, former deputy U.S. secretary of state and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, author of The Passionate Attachment.

* Douglas Bennet, president, National Public Radio.

* Richard Bulliet, author, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East.

* Noam Chomsky, MIT professor of linguistics and writer and speaker on Middle East affairs.

* Leslie and Andrew Cockburn, film producers and authors of Dangerous Liaison.

* Rabbi Marc Ellis, author of Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation.

* Gloria Emerson, journalist and author of Gaza: A Year in the Intifada.

* Elizabeth W. Fernea, University of Texas professor, and author and producer of numerous books and films on the Middle East.

* Mark Feldstein, CNN reporter, "The Israel Connection.”

* Norman Finkelstein, speaker, pamphleteer and author of The Theory of Zionism.

* Thomas Friedman, New York Times White House reporter and author of From Beirut to Jerusalem.

* Graham Fuller, former high-level Central Intelligence Agency official and now a senior RAND Corporation analyst of Middle Eastern and Central Asian affairs.

* Linda Gradstein, Israeli national and NPR Jerusalem correspondent.

* Mark Heller, co-author, No Trumpets, No Drums.

* Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter, Kissinger biographer and author of The Samson Option and many other books.

* Stanley Hoffman, professor, Harvard University.

* Peter Jennings, ABC news anchor and longtime ABC correspondent in Europe and the Middle East.

* Charles Percy (R-IL), former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

* Edward Said, Palestinian-born Columbia University professor of English literature, musicologist, former member of the Palestine National Council, and author of numerous books on the Middle East.

* Kathy Slobogin, CNN producer, "The Israel Connection.”

* Tad Szulc, contributor, National Geographic magazine.

Among Israel's American True Believers
Voices were subdued at the annual meeting of the Rochester, NY chapter of CAMERA that I attended in the Jewish Community Center. Even the main speech, delivered by the deputy Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, was low-key and peaceful sounding.

All the same, members of this group in 1991 disrupted several speeches by a Palestinian professor on a Fulbright grant and made their presence uncomfortably obvious at other events. Discord over the net effect of their disruptions even spilled into the pages of the local Jewish weekly, leading to a generous exchange of expletives between their critics and defenders. This also was the organization that has bombarded Rochester newspapers with criticism and scorn over editorials and headlines CAMERA members labeled "anti- Israel.”

The year 1992 had been good to the CAMERA local chapter, outgoing president Leon Katzen told the 100 mostly elderly participants. Local membership had swelled to 125, and the chapter treasury brimmed at $10,000. National CAMERA also had prospered, having reached 20,000 members, said Katzen, a member of CAMERA's national board.

Amid murmurs of approval, Katzen condemned the local newspapers for their alleged anti-Israel bias in headlines. His listeners shared his disapproval as he charged a similar bias in local editorials authored by, in his words, "a writer of the Hebrew persuasion.”

Noting that copy editors, not reporters, write the headlines, the CAMERA president took credit for softening the tone of some of them. But this note of progress was tempered by warnings to members to keep churning out "letters to the editor," with copies to both the publisher and executive editor.

Similarly, Katzen said, established telephone trees primed to flood local television stations with protests against such films as "Journey to the Occupied Lands" might help make the Public Broadcasting Service "moderately fair to Israel.”

In his low-key message, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Arie Tenne discussed the importance of media contacts. The media, with CAMERA's assistance, must be swung away from its focus on the Palestinian expellees and toward the resumption of the peace talks, he said.

In those talks, he explained, progress was being made in negotiations with Syria and Jordan, but Israel had nothing at present to offer the Palestinians. Tenne's remarks to the CAMERA members can best be described as the hard line spoken in soft tones.

Within a few days of the chapter meeting, the new president, J. Bernard Merzel, made his presence felt with an op-ed article in the local press taking issue with an earlier essay in the newspaper and praising Israel for creating a congenial atmosphere for Christians, Muslims and Jews.

Even without raising its voice to the strident level of national CAMERA, the Rochester chapter exhibited all the earmarks of dedication, discipline, sophistication and focus necessary to influence, or intimidate, the media. Persistence is another hallmark of the chapter in a city where the local media are aware that CAMERA is present, and won't go away. An evening spent with CAMERA members in Rochester was an impressive demonstration of the dedication of Israel's self-motivated true believers, who provide the base upon which Israel has built the most successful and powerful lobby in the U.S. today.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Kaidy, Mitchell
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Congress: Republican Task Force Faces Backlash on Bosnia Report

Noakes, Greg. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 30.


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Congress: Republican Task Force Faces Backlash on Bosnia Report
A report published last September by the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, part of the taxpayer-funded House Republican Research Committee, has ignited a storm of controversy over the actions and scholarship of its authors, protests from Muslims, and the resignations of four of the task force's congressional members. The report, written by Task Force Chief of Staff Vaughn S. Forrest and Director Yossef Bodansky, was entitled "Iran's European Springboard?”

Among its controversial conclusions are charges that: Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic and his government are bent on creating an Islamic republic in the Balkans as part of an international Islamist conspiracy; Bosnian Muslim forces are killing their own people and foreigners in an attempt to provoke international intervention or provide an excuse for Muslim atrocities against Serbs; Iran is infiltrating Islamist terrorists into Bosnia to prepare for a general Muslim uprising in Western Europe; and this Islamic revolution will be the result of Muslims' innate hatred and distrust of the West and Islam's inherent incompatibility with liberal society.

Although the document contains numerous quotes, none are footnoted and many are not even attributed. Most of the allegations leveled against Bosnia, Iran and various Muslim populations are derived from a very limited range of material, while support for the report's highly unorthodox reading of the shariah, or Islamic law, is based on a selective interpretation of the Qur'an and non-Islamic cultural practices within Muslim societies. The document's use of terminology is often inflammatory. The word "terrorist" appears 27 times in the 14-page report. Finally, Forrest and Bodansky released the report without consulting with the group's congressional members and have allegedly refused to release their documentation and sources to task force members and their staffs.

Equally controversial are the report's findings themselves. According to Forrest and Bodansky, "At the center of the Iranian system in Europe is Bosnia- Herzegovina's President, Alija Izetbegovic, `a fundamentalist Muslim and a member of the Fida'iyan-e Islam organization,' who is committed to the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

One of the strategies pursued by Izetbegovic's government, according to the report, is the intentional massacre of Bosnian Muslim civilians by "a special group of Bosnian Muslim forces, many of whom had served with Islamist terrorist organizations," in order "to win world sympathy and military intervention." The report alleges that Muslims were behind the shelling of British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd's entourage last July and the killing of ABC television producer David Kaplan in August, citing "investigations by the U.N. and other military experts.”

The document's terminology is often inflammatory.

With the West still paralyzed by indecision, Sarajevo allegedly turned to Iran for help. According to the report, hundreds of Islamist volunteers "arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina in answer to Tehran's call to fight the Jihad." These "highly trained and combat-proven volunteers" came from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon and a number of other Arab countries.

The task force argues that "the great threat caused by the continued carnage in Bosnia-Herzegovina comes from the foreign volunteers and the numerous local Muslims trained in the Middle East who are capable of carrying their avenging Jihad into the heart of Western Europe.

"Thus, there is in the making a formidable threat because, by a cautious estimate in mid-1991, about 3 to 6 percent of the over 8 million Muslim ιmigrιs in Western Europe were already actively involved in Islamist activities," which Forrest later defined as "support for conspiratorial actions and Islamist terrorism." The report argues that "The current crisis in former Yugoslavia may well become the catalyst that will push the Muslim communities of Western Europe into waging a terrorist campaign as an avenging Jihad." Such a campaign would be fueled by the inherent inability of Muslim communities to adapt to a European environment and the incompatibility of Islamic legal and cultural norms with Western liberal society, the report says.

A Heated Response
"Iran's European Springboard?" and its controversial findings have produced a heated response. In an Oct. 19 letter to the task force's congressional members, Executive Director Abdurahman Alamoudi wrote, "We at the American Muslim Council are horrified by your task force's unwarranted vilification of Muslims ... We thought we knew the tenets of our faith until we read your report." Calling the report "a glaring example of Muslim-bashing," Alamoudi said it was "reminiscent of `Yellow Peril' and McCarthyism." In a Jan. 25 reply to Vaughn Forrest's response, the AMC director wrote, "Your letter and report relegate us to either bitter isolationism or brewing terrorism. Please try to consider us as full-fledged citizens and partners in this country and the world over.”

Dr. Nedzib Sacirbey, Alija Izetbegovic's personal representative in Washington, was unequivocal in his denunciation of the task force report. "It is garbage. It is dirty lies," he told the Washington Report. "It is based on fiction, not on fact." When asked about the report's impact on U.S. policy toward Bosnia, Sacirbey said he believed it was minimal. "I don't believe any congressman with a sound mind will consider this report worthy. Any honest and knowledgeable congressman will immediately separate himself from this report," he said.

Four congressional members of the task force have done exactly that since last September, resigning from the organization as a result of Forrest and Bodansky's report. The first was task force co-chair Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who wrote Alamoudi that "the report emphasizes concerns which are exactly opposite of those I believe to be relevant." Peter Behrends, Rohrabacher's legislative assistant for foreign affairs, said, "It was the scholarship of the piece that was the problem. It just wasn't credible scholarship ... We asked and we were never shown any documentation." Behrends said that he and Rohrabacher "consider [Forrest] to be a friend," but added, "It's hard to agree with somebody all the time, and people just couldn't be associated with that kind of analysis.”

Representatives James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), Olympia Snowe (R-WA) and Christopher Cox (R-CA) later resigned from the task force, citing the report's poor scholarship and the staff's lack of coordination and consultation with the congressional membership. "The difficulty in associating one's name with a task force of this type is that the staff members can and do direct the work product and the result," Cox told the Washington Report. "This is an example of a staff-driven organization." Cox said that the congressional members were presented with the finished report "not only not having read it, but not even knowing it was coming out. . .We were all in the dark about this.”

As for the organization itself, Cox said, "The purpose of these Republican task forces is to attempt some measure of influence in an environment of Democrat-controlled [congressional] committees. Ironically, this wasn't an effort by Republican congressmen to influence their Democratic colleagues but an effort by task force staff to influence Republican congressmen.”

Forrest, Bodansky and task force public affairs officer Scott Brenner, all of whom are on the paid staff of task force chairman Bill McCollum (R-FL), refused to discuss their findings and activities with the Washington Report. "The task force is getting way too much publicity," Brenner said, adding that the report was "blown way out of proportion.”

In earlier remarks to the Washington Jewish Week, however, Forrest and Bodansky defended "Iran's European Spring-board?" and its level of scholarship. "There's a page of footnotes for every page of text," Forrest said, claiming that documentation was not provided with the report for security and cost considerations. He added that complete footnotes were given to congressional members upon request, but staff members working for Rohrabacher and Snowe said such requests were in fact denied.

As for the American Muslim Council's objections to the report's portrayal of Islam and Muslims, Forrest told the Washington Jewish Week, "I've written nine or 10 letters to these people, and they say I don't understand the Koran. Match their actions with these words: they're killing us." The Israeli-born Bodansky said, "I stand behind the accuracy of the report-each and every iota of it.”

The controversy swirling around the report seems to have made little impact on its co-authors. Bodansky, in fact, recently published a book with the sensationalist title, Target America: Terrorism in the USA Today. The task force, its congressional membership cut to eight because of resignations, retirements and one re-election defeat, released a 93-page report in February entitled "The New Islamist International." The report, written by Forrest and Bodansky, reiterates the allegation that Bosnian Muslim troops are slaughtering their own people "as a propaganda ploy." It also claims that "Tehran sees the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the contest between the New World Order and the Muslims' Destiny," and that "Islamists will now embark on the quest for revenge against the West, that had failed them so much through terrorism in the name of Allah.”

Error-Studded IDF Report Circulates on Capitol Hill With Help From Israel's Congressional Friends
Several months after the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare published its February report on "The New Islamist International," the Israel Defense Force released a 15-page "Background Material" report entitled "The Danger of Islamic Fundamentalism." Representatives H. James Saxton (R-NJ) and Peter Deutsch (D-FL), maintaining that it contains "important information regarding the dangers of militant Islamic fundamentalism," distributed copies of the booklet to all members of Congress, along with a "Dear Colleague" letter warning that fundamentalist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah are "no longer confined to the Middle East, but organized enough to strike downtown America.”

With the exception of four pages of appropriately damning quotes from militant Islamist hard-liners like Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, there is nothing in the IDF report that isn't readily available in the pages of The Economist or even Time or Newsweek. The IDF's analysis is superficial and undocumented, with opinion often presented as undisputed fact. The report's attempts at detail are often factually incorrect. For example, secularist Muslim newspaper columnist Farag Foda, assassinated by radical Egyptian Islamists in 1992, is described in the report as a "Copt spiritual leader." The report identifies "the most active fundamentalist faction" in Egypt as the "Palestinian [sic] Islamic Jihad," while the discussion of Hamas neglects to mention Israel's admitted role in fostering the fledgling organization as a counterweight to the PLO. The IDF's willingness to play loose with the facts, resulting in skewed analysis, casts doubt over the report's value as background material for policymakers.

The timing of the report is more revealing than its content, however. Published some four months after what the report calls "Israel's temporary removal of Hamas activists from Judea, Samaria and Gaza," the booklet's release coincided with growing unrest in the occupied territories and an accompanying Israeli security crackdown. "The Danger of Islamic Fundamentalism" was published just after Israel sealed off the territories for an indefinite period of time. The report's discussion of measures taken against Islamist activists by various Arab governments is an obvious attempt to justify repressive Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the expulsions.

Two months after the report's release, the territories remain sealed, the Palestinian deportees continue their involuntary exile, the security situation in the West Bank and Gaza has further deteriorated and the peace talks have made no progress whatsoever. The Rabin government's answer to this deadly stalemate resulting from its own policies has been to issue another IDF report on the "dangers of fundamentalism," concentrating this time solely on Hamas, an organization whose growth was carefully protected by Israeli occupation authorities for several years, particularly under Israel's Likud governments. Just in case anyone on Capitol Hill missed the first packet of "important information," Rep. Saxton's office will be distributing the second IDF report to congressional offices in early July.

MOVING?

When you move--for whatever reason--don't just mail a card with forwarding instructions to your post office. That's only for first-class mail. The Washington Report is mailed at the third-class non-profit rate. You have to inform us by card or telephone each time you change addresses, or you'll never see our magazine again. And a Washington Report subscription is a terrible thing to waste!
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Noakes, Greg
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Middle East History -- It Happened in July: With First Settlement in Golan, Israel Chose Land Over Peace

Neff, Donald. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 31.


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Middle East History--It Happened in July: With First Settlement in Golan, Israel Chose Land Over Peace
It was on July 15, 1967--just five weeks after the end of the Six-Day War- -that Israel quietly established its first settlement in the occupied territories, despite promises to Washington that it had no intention to do so. The settlement was Kibbutz Merom Hagolan near Quneitra on the Golan Heights.(1) Although Israel continued to indicate it wanted peace more than land, its aggressive actions became suspect in Washington. A secret cable drafted in the State Department for transmission to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on Sept. 14 noted that Israeli policy seemed to be hardening toward retention of the occupied territories: "Israeli objectives may be shifting from original position seeking peace with no repeat no territorial gains toward one of territorial expansionism," said the cable.

Israel's aggressive actions became suspect in Washington.

It continued: "Israel's refusal to authorize the return of all refugees desiring to resume residence on West Bank . . . and statements by senior Israeli officials quoted in American press give rise to impression that Israeli government may be moving toward policy of seeking security simply by retaining occupied areas rather than by achieving peaceful settlement with Arabs." The cable noted Israel now seemed to be putting more emphasis on "form of settlement (direct negotiations and formal peace treaties) rather than substance . . . . There is concern [this stance] could in fact become rationale for territorial acquisitions." The cable concluded that it was important for Israel to demonstrate "that Israel sincerely wishes peaceful settlement above all."(2)
Despite protests from the United Nations and the United States that settlements were a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel continued establishing Jewish settlements. Within six months, Israel had expropriated 838 acres for new settlements, expelled hundreds of Arabs from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, razed Palestinian refugee towns at Tiflig and near Jericho as well as 144 homes in Gaza, and secretly embarked on a major plan for founding four large settlements in Arab Jerusalem.(3) By the beginning of 1968, Israel had placed settlements in all the occupied lands of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.(4)
Under its Labor governments Israel pursued a steady but deliberately quiet policy of establishing settlements, disguising them as "nahals," paramilitary outposts manned by youths. The subterfuge served the purpose of muting international criticism. However, by mid-1976 the number of settlements had grown to 68 and no longer could be ignored. Finally, on March 23, 1976, the United States went public with its concerns about Israel's actions. On that date, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations William W. Scranton declared in the Security Council that Israel's settlements in the occupied territories were illegal and that its claim to all of Jerusalem was void.

Scranton said: "The United States position on the status of Jerusalem has been stated here on numerous occasions since the Arab portion of that city was occupied by Israel in 1967 . . . . [T]he future of Jerusalem will be determined only through the instruments and processes of negotiation, agreement and accommodation. Unilateral attempts to predetermine the future have no standing.

"Next, I turn to the question of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Again, my government believes that international law sets the appropriate standards. An occupier must maintain the occupied areas as intact and unaltered as possible, without interfering with the customary life of the area, and any changes must be necessitated by the immediate needs of the occupation and be consistent with international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention speaks directly to the issue of population transfer in Article 49: `The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.' Clearly, then, substantial resettlement of the Israeli civilian population in occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under the convention and cannot be considered to have prejudged the outcome of future negotiations between the parties or the location of the borders of states of the Middle East. Indeed, the presence of these settlements is seen by my government as an obstacle to the success of the negotiations for a just and final peace between Israel and its neighbors."(5)
The settlements issue between the United States and Israel grew more heated under President Carter. He personally declared them "illegal" during a press conference on July 28, 1977. Said Carter: "The matter of settlements in the occupied territories has always been characterized by our government, by me and my predecessors as an illegal action."(6)
Finally, on April 21, 1978, the State Department legal adviser, Herbert Hansell, rendered an official opinion on the issue of Israel's settlements in occupied territories, saying they were "inconsistent with international law." The opinion also asserted that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied to the West Bank and Gaza, despite Israeli claims that it did not because sovereignty over those areas was in dispute.(7) Despite this official finding, the Carter administration did not have the political will to support a 1979 U.N. Security Council resolution saying Israeli settlements on Arab land, including East Jerusalem, had no legal status and "constitute a serious obstruction in achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East." The vote was 12-0-3 with the United States, Britain and Norway abstaining.(8)
"Not Illegal”

U.S. policy was significantly weakened with the coming to power of Ronald Reagan. On Feb. 2, 1981, less than two weeks after he became president, Reagan declared: "I disagreed when the previous administration referred to them [settlements] as illegal--they're not illegal."(9) This odd language left the issue in something of a semantic limbo, since Reagan never actually declared the settlements legal. Throughout his two terms Reagan maintained the attitude that settlements were simply "not illegal."(10)
The result of this astonishing turn-about was reported by David A. Korn, who was the State Department's director for Israel and Arab-Israeli affairs at the time. He noted that Reagan's pronouncement left the United States without a coherent policy toward settlements: "For more than a year afterward, the United States remained mute on Israeli settlements. American silence was all the signal Mr. Begin's Likud government needed to initiate an accelerated settlements program. By September 1982, the administration realized what damage it had done to its Middle East peace efforts and the formula "settlements are an obstacle to peace" became standard State Department usage. However, at no time during the Reagan administration's eight years in office did it revert to the stronger position that settlements are illegal."(11) In fact, Secretary of State George Shultz went further in weakening the U.S. position on Sept. 9, 1982, when he told Congress that "the status of Israeli settlements must be determined in the course of the final status negotiations."(12)
The Bush administration adopted Reagan's formulation that the settlements were obstacles to peace. Despite Bush's conflict with the government of Yitzhak Shamir over the use of U.S. loan guarantees in the occupied territories, at no time did his administration express the earlier language describing settlements as illegal. This reluctance by the president to invoke the stronger language was ruefully referred to publicly by Secretary of State James Baker in 1991 when he referred to the settlements that "we used to characterize as illegal, and which we now moderately characterize as an obstacle to peace."(13)
The Clinton administration has not yet declared itself on this key issue. However, all early signs of Clinton's pro-Israel bias indicate that settlements will remain "not illegal" in Washington's peculiar parlance.

NOTES:

(1.) Aronson, Creating Facts, p. 16. Also see Israel Shahak, "Memory of 1967 'Ethnic Cleansing' Fuels Ideology of Golan Settlers," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, November 1992.

(2.) State to Amembassy Tel Aviv, Secret cable 2942, 9/14/67; declassified 3/5/79. The cable is quoted in Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, p. 322.

(3.) Israeli Housing Minister Zeev Sharef revealed details of the Jerusalem settlements 2/18/71, see Facts on File 1971, p. 123.

(4.) Lesch, Ann. "Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories," Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 1978.

(5.) Excerpts in The New York Times, March 25, 1976. See Bernard Gwertzman, The New York Times, March 13, 1980, for list of U.S. statements over the years of the U.S. position on Jerusalem.

(6.) Text is in The New York Times, July 29, 1977, and U.S. State Department, American Foreign Policy 1977-1980 (1983), p. 618.

(7.) Department of State, Office of the Legal Adviser, Digest of United States Practice in International Law 1978, 1575-83. Text is in Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories: Hearings Before the Subcommittee of International Organizations and on Europe and the Middle East of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, 95th Congress, 1st Ses., 1978, 167-72, and in Thorpe, Prescription for Conflict (1984), 153-58. Major excerpts are in Foundation for Middle East Peace, Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories, Special Report, July 1991. For a detailed discussion, see Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order (1986). Chapter 6.

(8.) Resolution 446, passed March 22, 1979. The text is in Sherif, United Nations Resolutions on Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988), Volume Two: 1975-1981, p. 188.

(9.) The New York Times, Feb. 3, 1981.

(10.) See, for instance, The New York Times, Aug. 28, 1983.

(11.) David A. Korn, letter, The New York Times, Oct. 10, 1991.

(12.) Thorpe, Prescription for Conflict, p. 160.

(13.) David Hoffman and Jackson Diehl, The Washington Post, Sept. 18, 1991.

[SOURCE NOTES: There are a number of good studies on Israel's settlements in the Journal of Palestine Studies: Michael Adams, "Israel's Treatment of the Arabs in the Occupied Territories," Winter 1972, 19-40; Ann Mosley Lesch, "Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-1977," Autumn 1977, 26- 47; Ibrahim Matar, "Israeli Settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," Autumn 1981, 93-110; and Abu-Lughod, "Israeli Settlements in Occupied Arab Lands: Conquest to Colony," Winter 1982, 16-54. An excellent book-length treatment of the subject is Aronson, Creating Facts (1987), which has a chronology since 1967, as well as maps and a list of Jewish settlements on the West Bank as of 1982; at the time they numbered 110. The Foundation for Middle East Peace publishes a bimonthly newsletter, Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories, which provides news and background on Israeli settlement activity. Also see Khouri, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, 3rd ed. (1985), p. 384; Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection (1978), pp. 645-9; Mallison, The Palestine Problem in International Law and World Order (1986), pp. 225-6; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem (1984), pp. 311-14; Tillman, The United States in the Middle East (1982), p. 170; Thorpe, Prescription for Conflict (1984).]
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Neff, Donald
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Women's Affairs: "Condensed Pain"; A Muslim Woman Talks to Bosnian Rape Victims

Lorenz, Andrea W. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 33.


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Women's Affairs: "Condensed Pain"; A Muslim Woman Talks to Bosnian Rape Victims
As the alleged toll of women and girls, nearly all of them Muslim, systematically raped by Serbian troops in Bosnia soared past 60,000, the number of American women wishing to help alleviate the victims' suffering also has increased. Feryal Gharahi, a Washington, DC-based criminal lawyer, is one of a handful of American Muslim women to visit Bosnia and Croatia. In a June interview with the Washington Report, Ms. Gharahi described the anguish of the women she met.

Having worked for five years as a criminal lawyer, Ms. Gharahi said that before she went to the former Yugoslavia she had thought she was prepared for what she would see and hear. However, she said, "It absolutely devastated me. To this day, I'm haunted by the images.”

"It absolutely devastated me. To this day, I'm haunted by the images.”

In February, Ms. Gharahi and Bianca Jagger, who is best known for political activism on behalf of her native Nicaragua, visited refugees in camps near Zagreb and Sarajevo. A New York-based international women's group, Equality Now, sponsored their two-week trip.

Throughout their visit, the women were escorted by personnel of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), which planned their itinerary. Early on, Jagger and Gharahi decided to divide their efforts in order to visit as many different camps as possible.

Ms. Gharahi interviewed some 200 women, men, and children in five separate camps. As a Muslim born in Mashhad, Iran, Ms. Gharahi was aware that in Islamic societies sex is discussed far less openly than in the West. While interviewing the women, Ms. Gharahi said she never used the word rape.

"There is such shame and humiliation associated with this word in Muslim culture," she explained. "I would talk instead about violence against women.”

UNHCR staff members who escorted Ms. Gharahi told her that because she approached the women as a fellow Muslim, they seemed more comfortable with her than they had with previous visitors. U.N. officials said that often when outside visitors would ask the women whether they had been raped, they would be met with silence. Many victims found speaking about the experience of rape unbearable. "These people have been highly traumatized," Ms. Gharahi said. "You have to be gentle with them.”

The men Ms. Gharahi met were visibly scarred by the horrors of the concentration camps and by what has happened to the women in their families. She recalled that while she interviewed a group of Bosnian men, she noticed a beautiful little girl sitting nearby, listening intently to the conversation. She suggested that the girl's father tell his daughter to go out and play because of the nature of the discussion. "She has been through a lot worse," her father responded. He explained that when Serbs raped his wife, they raped his five year-old daughter as well.

When asked about the 113 rape camps and the estimated 20,000 Muslim women impregnated by the Serbs, Ms. Gharahi said that in her view the numbers were low. "The Bosnian government is mostly men," she said. "Their sense of shame causes them to downplay the true numbers.”

Since returning to the U.S., Ms. Gharahi has spoken about her experiences to many groups and has testified before Congress. Still, she finds it difficult to discuss what she saw and heard. "I took verbatim notes," she said, "but I cannot go back and read them. They're like condensed pain.”

She added that she suffers from an enormous feeling of helplessness in discussing the plight of Bosnia's Muslims. "These people feel abandoned by the international community, particularly the Muslim community," she said. "They've been stripped of everything.”

When asked how others can help, Ms. Gharahi said, "We have a moral responsibility to express our outrage. Call your congressional representatives. Demand that something be done.”

WOMEN'S GROUPS ACTIVELY ASSISTING BOSNIAN WAR VICTIMS:

In Washington, DC:

Women for Women in Bosnia
Contact: Zainab Salbi and Paola Trimarco; 1212 New York Ave. NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005, tel. (202) 789-2262, fax (202) 789-2550.

Women for Women in Bosnia is working with local relief organizations and women's groups. In July, it plans to send four Muslim women psychological counselors to aid the victims. The organization is sponsored by:

Global Concerns Committee of All Souls Church, National Association of Arab Americans, American Task Force for Bosnia, North American Council for Muslim Women, American Muslim Council, Unitarian Universalists Association Task Force on Violence Against Women.

In New York:

Equality Now
Contact: Jessica Neuwirth; P.O. Box 20646, Columbus Circle Station, New York, NY 10019, tel. and fax (212) 586-0906.

Equality Now is circulating a "Wanted" poster of Radovan Karadzic.

Madre (Women's Peace Network)
Contact: Vivian Stromberg; 121 West 27 St., Room 301, New York, NY 10001, tel. (212) 627-0444, fax (212) 675-3704. Madre is providing money and support for all women affected by the war through the following local organizations: the Center for Women War Victims in Zagreb and Women in Black in Belgrade. These organizations provide aid, counseling, and staff an anti-violence hotline.

Center for Constitutional Rights
Contact: Beth Stephens; 666 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, tel. (212) 614- 6424, fax (212) 614-6499.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has filed a class-action lawsuit against Radovan Karadzic on behalf of Bosnian rape victims. The suit charges Karadzic with legal responsibility for the mass rapes, forced pregnancies, and other brutalities carried out by the soldiers under his command.

In California:

YWCA Rape Crisis Center of Pasadena 78 N. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101, tel. (818) 793-5171.

The YWCA Rape Crisis Center of Pasadena is sending money by wire transfer to two local grassroots organizations: Women of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Zena.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Lorenz, Andrea W
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Public Opinion: American Public Would Intervene in Bosnia, But Not Unilaterally

Holden, Kurt. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 34.


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Public Opinion: American Public Would Intervene in Bosnia, But Not Unilaterally
"Most of the criticism on Bosnia, [Christopher] has said, is from `East Coast newspaper columnists' who wanted the United States to use military force in the former Yugoslavia. `I don't find that out in the country,' he said. Aides note that Christopher keeps close track of public opinion polls that do, indeed, show widespread opposition to U.S. military action on Bosnia.”

Lyndon Johnson's first two years in office were among the most productive of any U.S. president. He harnessed his congressional know-how and a wave of sympathy over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the task of enacting into law the vast array of "new frontier" social legislation bequeathed him by his predecessor. It was only when Johnson ventured into foreign policy, and the growing American involvement in Vietnam also bequeathed him by his predecessor, that he began relying on polls instead of his own experience and common sense.

Critics pointed out that using the sons of the poor to fight a war for which he was not asking even a tax increase from the rich was bound to create domestic tensions, particularly within the liberal base of his own Democratic party. Instead of "reasoning together" with the doubters, however, he would pull a poll from his handkerchief pocket to demonstrate that "the American people are with me on this.”

Wise presidents use polls to determine when their policies need further explaining. Foolish presidents use polls to justify those policies. Only leaders without a political compass use polls to determine where to go.

Taking campaign positions from the polls may earn a candidate the sobriquet "Slick Willie." Continuing to do it as president will sooner or later earn the same leader the label "Waffling Willie," "Wavering Willie," or "William the Weak.”

If none of this is news, what may come as a shock to Americans who just want their country to do the right thing is that, according to the Los Angeles Times citation above, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the foreign policy compass for a president clearly without one, may also be sneaking glances at the polls instead of a map of the Balkans to figure out what to do about genocide in Bosnia.

If that's the case, here's another quotation from the same newspaper just one day earlier on June 9: "The public debate about Bosnia has for months been shaped by an assumption that the American public is self-preoccupied and opposed to military intervention in Bosnia. This assumption is wrong.”

That's the lead paragraph in a Los Angeles Times article by Steven Kull and Clay Ramsay of the Program for International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, based on 11 recent polls. Six of them showed that when presented with a question about sending U.S. troops to Bosnia, an average of 47 percent reacted negatively, and 43 percent positively.

In another five polls, however, when respondents were asked whether the U.S. should participate in U.N. operations in Bosnia, support averaged 60 percent and, in one Time/CNN poll, hit 68 percent.

A Key Distinction
"The distinction between unilateral and multilateral intervention is the key variable," according to Kull and Ramsay. Asked on an ABC poll whether the U.S. should take unilateral military action, opposition also reached 68 percent.

Getting down to specifics, when asked on one poll whether the U.N. should set a deadline for the Serbs to comply or "face allied military action," 76 percent responded positively.

When respondents to seven polls were asked simply whether the U.S. should mount air strikes, support averaged 39 percent and opposition averaged 49 percent. However, in two other polls which asked about air strikes in conjunction with America's European allies or as part of a U.N.-approved action, support averaged 59 percent.

Even on the touchy question of U.S. ground troops, three polls found that an average of 64 percent of the American public favored the idea of Americans participating in a U.N. peacekeeping force to implement the Vance-Owen plan. As the two researchers put it:

"Presumably it was a failure to discern this distinction in public thinking that led congressional leaders . . . to tell the president that the American public would not support having 20,000 troops participate in a U.N. peacekeeping force to implement the Vance-Owen plan should the Bosnian Serbs agree to it.”

Kull and Clay did their own nationwide survey of the American thinking behind the media-commissioned polls. They reported:

* Sixty-eight percent of respondents agreed with the proposition that "since the war in Bosnia is a war of aggression by Serbia, the U.N. principle of collective security obliges U.N. members to help defend the Bosnian government.”

"U.S. policy should be guided by moral principles and collective security.”

* Sixty-seven percent agreed that ethnic cleansing "is a form of genocide and that the U.S. should take strong steps to stop it.”

* On the other hand, 53 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that "the U.S. has no real interests in Bosnia and that the U.S. should focus on programs at home.”

* Forty-eight percent agreed with an argument "against committing U.S. troops `even as part of a U.N. operation' because 'there is too great a chance of becoming bogged down like in Vietnam.'“

Summarizing their seemingly contradictory findings, Kull and Clay wrote: "The idea that U.S. policy should be guided by a vision that has moral principles and a concept of collective security appears to have an upper hand over the idea that the rest of the world should simply be left to its own inhumane devices. Such activist principles, though, can only be shaped into a viable policy after being forged, at every turn, by healthy doubts about whether the game is really worth the candle--especially when American lives are put at risk.”

For the rest of the world, the good news in the article by Kull and Ramsay is that there still is a stubborn streak of morality underlying the pragmatism for which Americans are best known. The bad news, however, may be contained in the old adage that armies (or nations) are no better than their leaders. For America in 1993, that may be very grim news indeed.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Holden, Kurt
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Man in the News: Shimon Peres; Rabin's Challenger From the Left

Hadar, Leon T. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 35.


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Man in the News: Shimon Peres; Rabin's Challenger From the Left
Most American press attention in recent weeks has been focused on the meteoric political rise of Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu to become the leader of Israel's rightwing bloc. The conventional wisdom is that "Bibi," the 44-year- old newsbite-producing demagogue, with his telegenic qualities, has a serious chance of beating the 70-year-old Yitzhak Rabin and his Labor Party in the coming elections.

American supporters of Likud, led by New York Times columnists A.M. Rosenthal and William Safire, have applauded the opening of the "window of opportunity" for the Greater Israel coalition's return to power. Safire has suggested that unlike former President George Bush, President Bill Clinton would be less interested in trying, through various policies, to tip the balance of power in favor of Labor.

Rosenthal even went so far as to suggest that Washington cut the economic aid package to the Jewish state, so as to weaken the hold of Labor over the Israeli electorate. (It should be recalled that "Abe" Rosenthal was one of those who bashed the Bush and Baker team, calling them "anti-Israeli" if not "anti-Semitic" for denying the Shamir government an unconditional $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.)
Rosenthal and Safire, like many other top U.S. columnists, book reviewers and television talk show hosts, have been helping "Bibi" plug his new propaganda volume, Among the Nations, in the U.S. media. Correspondents covering Israel, led by Clyde Haberman of The New York Times, have all but nominated Netanyahu as Rabin's successor. Many of these admirers try to portray "Bibi" as a closet moderate who, after coming to power and based on only-Nixon- could-go-to-China logic, will lead Israel into a land-for-peace settlement with the Arabs.

While Netanyahu's popularity in Israel has been soaring to some extent since his election as Likud's leader--the latest polls indicate that he is outstripping Rabin 42 to 35 percent--it is not obvious at all that his leadership will guarantee Likud's victory in the next Knesset elections.

Actually, the most remarkable phenomenon of current Israeli politics is that despite the fact that the uncharismatic Rabin's Labor coalition has performed disastrously in both foreign and domestic arenas, and is characterized by public bickering between its members, the Yuppie-led Likud still has not attracted any major slice of the Labor constituency to its ranks.

Most political analysts agree that the Israeli political map, particularly the division between "hawks" and "doves," has remained quite stable since the last elections. While Netanyahu's star quality may have contributed to the slight rise in Likud support, Likud's continued attachment to the Greater Israel concept makes it unattractive to Labor voters.

Labor strategists believe that as Israel moves closer to the election campaign, they will be able to make it clear to most voters that Netanyahu, contrary to wishful American thinking, is nothing more than a Shamir with a telegenic face. Some analysts say that Labor would have faced a more difficult challenge if Likud members had elected the more pragmatic Benjamin Begin or David Levy as their leader.

The Old Peres
While American media analysts debate the long-term political significance of "Bibi," few have paid attention to a significant debate taking place inside the Israeli foreign policy establishment.

There Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, Rabin's old political nemesis, is emerging as the leader of cabinet and Labor Party "doves," positioning himself once again for a possible challenge to Labor's hardline prime minister.

Peres' metamorphosis into leader of Israel's "doves" would surprise anyone aware only of the early career of the Polish-born politician. In the late 1940s, Peres made his first moves in Israeli politics as a protιgι of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. With fellow Ben-Gurion disciple Moshe Dayan, Peres was one of the most "hawkish" figures in the Socialist-Zionist Mapai, and later in the Labor movement.

As head of Israel's Defense Ministry in the late 1950s and '60s, Peres led Israel's successful drive to acquire nuclear weapons. He was a major figure working behind the scenes to oust from power moderate Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharrett, and also was one of the architects of the alliance with France that led to Israel's 1956 attack on Egypt.

Together with Dayan, he pressured Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to launch the 1967 war and, as a ranking cabinet member during the first years of the occupation, became an ally of the Gush Emunim movement in its efforts to settle the West Bank. While serving in the first Rabin government, before Labor's fall from power in 1977, Peres had become a major adversary to the prime minister, undermining his various diplomatic efforts from the right and putting pressure on him to accelerate the Jewish settlement drive in the occupied territories.

The New Peres
It was only after becoming Labor Party leader himself, and moving to the opposition benches, that Peres began his major political transformation. With Likud as Israel's ruling party, and the country's political system moving to the right, Labor had little choice but to challenge Likud with a more moderate agenda. Observers also attribute the Peres metamorphosis to young and more dovish advisers, such as current Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin, some of whom for years have supported an opening to the PLO, and occasionally have met with its leaders. Others attribute Peres' more conciliatory approach to the Palestine issue to his close ties to the Socialist French President Francois Mitterand.

Peres himself has suggested that the experience gained from the 1982 Lebanon war, the intifada, the Gulf war, and the end of the Cold War demonstrate that Israel's ability to survive in the long run depends on its making peace with the Arabs and integrating into the Middle East.

Hence, the one-time proponent of Israel's nuclearization has been calling in recent years for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The 1960s advocate of a European-Israeli alliance to defeat Arab nationalism now leads efforts for a Mideastern version of the EC, drawing up plans for Israeli-Arab cooperation in water resources, commerce and tourism.

Most important, observers agree, is that Peres has been moving away from militant Zionism toward acceptance of Palestinian nationalism. During the Labor-Likud National Unity government, then-Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Peres attempted to reach an agreement with King Hussein, an effort that was sabotaged by Prime Minister Shamir. As an opposition leader, he and his advisers tried to convince Washington to put diplomatic pressure on the Likud government to end the settlement process.

It was Peres' image as a "dove" and an "Arab lover," among other things, that convinced many of his ideological supporters in Labor to switch their allegiance to Rabin as the party's candidate for prime minister. The assumption underlying that move was that only Rabin, the former general with a hard-line image, could defeat the hawkish Likud.

Peres continued to believe that even under his leadership Labor would have won the election. Actually, according to his calculation, Labor under Peres would have won over more of the Arab voters, and, as a result, come out of the election with at least two more seats in the Knesset.

Challenging Rabin
Peres, however, accepted his defeat in Labor's contest for the leadership and promised to back Rabin during the election campaign and after Labor's slim victory. In return, Rabin agreed to award Peres the job of foreign minister, but emphasized that he as prime minister would maintain total control over the management of the relationship with the U.S. and the Arab-Israeli peace process.

But as Rabin started to navigate the security and diplomatic policy shoals, the differences between the two leaders emerged. Peres seemed to warn that any halt in the peace process is dangerous since it tends to play into the hands of extremists on both sides. Hence, as the Bush administration found itself paralyzed during the election campaign and as the talks with the Syrians seemed to be leading nowhere, Peres attempted to bring the French into the peace process to serve as a mediator with Damascus, a move that was immediately rebuked by Rabin.

The foreign minister, who was not informed in advance about Rabin's plan to expel the 415 Palestinian Islamic activists last December, did not hide his dismay at the prime minister's move. And whereas Rabin has been trying to limit the power of Palestinian self-rule, Peres has been trying to expand it. He was the driving force behind such decisions as decriminalizing meetings between Israelis and PLO officials and permitting Faisal Husseini to take part in the Washington peace talks.

These and other efforts, including hints to Washington to renew its diplomatic dialogue with the PLO, are seen as part of a gradual effort on the part of Peres and his deputy, Beilin, to open negotiations with the PLO and to accept the idea of Palestinian independence alongside Israel. These policies are supported by most of Labor's Knesset members.

Most of these activists, propelled by their political survival instincts, had supported Rabin as their party's leader. But, with the peace process stalling, they are having second thoughts. Most believe that only a dramatic move in the peace process can give Labor the time it needs to consolidate its hold on power, and that Rabin's policies are not leading in that direction.

This sense of urgency to breathe life back into the peace process also explains Peres' disappointment over the Clinton administration's apparent disinclination to engage Israel in a serious dialogue over the peace issues. The return of the Likud to power would be immeasurably hastened, Pere's supporters argue, by a collapse of the peace talks and an escalation of violence between Arabs and Jews.

Israeli Foreign Ministry sources complain that Clinton and his advisers are ignoring the "Peres camp's" ideas such as re-opening the U.S.-PLO talks, and are not taking advantage of Rabin's vulnerability to U.S. pressure. Members of Peres' own entourage are suggesting that, in the absence of any U.S. activism on the peace front, it might be worth looking toward the EC as an alternative diplomatic catalyst.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Cartoons (Shimon Peres playing soccer)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Hadar, Leon T
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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People Watch: Martin Indyk Doesn't Forget

Barnes, Lucille. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 36.


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People Watch: Martin Indyk Doesn't Forget
"Without Barbie, I would not be standing before you tonight, as a spokesperson for the Clinton administration," White House Director of Near East and South Asian Affairs Martin Indyk told a Washington Institute for Near East Policy audience on May 18. The occasion was the ascension of former American Israel Public Affairs Committee board member Barbara Weinberg from president to chairperson of the Washington Institute, which she and Indyk, then an employee of AIPAC, Israel's Washington, DC lobby, founded together. Although Indyk's speech was described as a major statement of Clinton administration Middle East policy, the Washington Institute subsequently refused to release the text as delivered, issuing instead a summary of its "high points." Indyk's grateful remarks about Weinberg, who provided the institute's initial funding, were not included.

Clinton's Political Adviser
Indyk's White House colleague, political adviser Rahm Emmanuel, whose office is just steps from President Bill Clinton's, also got his start in AIPAC ranks more than a decade ago as a student volunteer imported to southern Illinois to work against then-Republican Representative Paul Findley, who, during his 22 years in the House of Representatives, had offended Israel's supporters by suggesting the U.S. look again at a number of Arab leaders, including PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. Emmanuel earned his present White House position as the principal fundraiser for Clinton's presidential campaign. He may have earned his clout with some Democratic Party contributors in an unusual manner. Former American Jewish Congress official Mark Bruzonsky of the dovish Jewish Committee on the Middle East reported in his weekly column in the daily Saudi Gazette of Jeddah that the chief White House political strategist is a former captain in the Israeli army.

Yitzhak Rabin's Successor?

Service in the Israeli military is a time-honored way to enter Israeli politics too, although it took American-style party elections to pass leadership of Israel's rightwing nationalist Likud Party from former Jewish underground terrorist and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to the new generation, represented by former Israeli U.N. Ambassador and soundbite specialist Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin apparently is hoping to head off his Labor party rival, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, by grooming Israel's current chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Ehud Barak, to be Rabin's successor as head of the Israeli Labor Party.

Barak's predecessor as chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Amran Mitzna, retired in March and immediately won a Labor Party nomination to be its candidate for mayor of Haifa in November elections. Israel's new president, Ezer Weizman, was a former Israeli air force chief, and Weizman's predecessor as president, Chaim Herzog, also was a career military officer.

Chief of Staff Barak was much in evidence during U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher's February visit to Israel. What Christopher may not have known then is that it was Barak who originally advised Rabin to deport some 400 Palestinian Muslims from the Israeli-occupied territories last December 17, dealing a critical blow to the U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace talks. Just before that, Barak tried to conceal the fact that he had been present last November at a "training accident" in which five Israeli soldiers were killed by a misfired rocket during what was rumored to be a "dress rehearsal" for an assassination which was to have been carried out in a neighboring country.

Aloni Steps Aside
Israeli Minister of Education Shulamit Aloni, head of Israel's secular and dovish Meretz Party, agreed to help save Rabin's government by handing over the education portfolio to Amnon Rubinstein, also of Meretz, to appease Shas, the only religious party in the cabinet, which objects to Aloni's outspoken remarks. Aloni would pick up the communications portfolio held by Moshe Shahal of the Labor Party. While Shas leaders pondered the offer, which wouldn't really satisfy their urge to get their hands on more Ministry of Education funds for the religious schools they operate in Israel, Rabin went shopping for another party, preferably from the right wing, to join his cabinet. Without such an addition, Rabin's government would be dependent upon votes from Arab Knesset members if Shas withdraws.

"Jews for Jesus”

Televangelist Pat Robertson as a candidate in the Republican presidential primaries of 1988 evoked a mixed reaction from Israel's supporters. The Israeli government was happy to accept his outspoken support for its policies, based apparently on his Old Testament-centered Christian fundamentalism. American Jews, however, were unhappy with his positions for prayer in public schools and against abortion rights.

Robertson is back in the American Jewish weekly press this month because of Raphael Farber, Israel's commissioner for North American tourism. In an article in the New York Jewish weekly Forward, Farber called Robertson "a great friend" for sending thousands of his Christian fundamentalist followers to Israel every year.

Leaders of both the Reform and Orthodox Jewish movements in America criticized Farber's characterization of Robertson, whose evangelical organization has ties to Jews for Jesus. In the Forward article, Farber said American Jews were wrong to think that Jews for Jesus is a threat to Jewish continuity. "The problem is that Jews are going to vanish here in 20 years because of intermarriage," Farber declared.

Rabbi Alexander Schindler, president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and a former president of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, responded that "Raphael Farber owes the American Jewish community an apology. In effect, he is saying 'forget about American Jews, they are doomed anyhow, what's important is Israel.' How would he like it if American Jewish leaders were to say to the public, 'Why shouldn't we deal with the Arabs, they're only against Israel, and not against American Jews?'“

Rabbi Pinchas Stolper, executive director of the Orthodox Union, accused Farber of "myopia" in his statements. "Is that what we created Israel for?" he asked. "To get tourists?" Philip Abramowitz, an authority on Christian evangelism employed by New York's Jewish Community Relations Council, told Forward Farber had promised him in a 1989 letter "not to take any steps to actively promote tourism to Israel among Messianic bodies." Abramowitz added that Israeli officials had promised American Jewish leaders they "would refrain from dealing with Jews for Jesus or supporting Hebrew Christians in general." Said Abramowitz, "what has happened is that we've been disappointed that things weren't followed through." He said Jewish antimissionary groups are "continuing to pursue this matter with the Israelis.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Barnes, Lucille
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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United Nations Report: Betraying Bosnia With a "New Orwellian Vocabulary”


Williams, Ian. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 37.


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United Nations Report: Betraying Bosnia With a "New Orwellian Vocabulary”

"It's not what's in it--it's what's behind it," Bosnia's U.N. Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey told the Washington Report after the latest Security Council resolution, number 836, had seemingly approved protecting the "safe havens" with air strikes. "Behind it is a clear motivation to avoid stronger action," he said, pointing to the resolution's ambiguity.

Despite the valiant efforts of the New Zealand envoy to stiffen it, 836 still leaves the actual calling for air strikes to the discretion of officials who will almost certainly only call for them when UNPROFOR troops are under attack. The resolution only "authorizes" armed action by the UNPROFOR against attacks on the safe areas, or interference with the convoys. It does not mandate such armed action.

Since the Serbs refuse to allow the U.N. forces to enter the so-called safe havens, the spurious firmness of the resolution dissolves into a soggy public relations exercise. "They're only going to call for air strikes when the UNPROFOR guys are in a `Custer's last stand' situation," said Sacirbey.

In the council itself, his bitter speech referred to a "new Orwellian vocabulary." He pointed out that apart from the dubious protection accorded to the half dozen "safe areas," the resolution implied acceptance of the "non- safe" status of the rest of Bosnia, where the U.N. arms embargo presently stops Bosnian government forces from defending the Bosnian people. Ambassador Sacirbey described the Srebrenica safe haven as a "modern age lepers' colony" and "open concentration camp where disease, hunger and despair have replaced shells and bullets as the tools of genocide." Scathingly he suggested that the "Joint Action Program" should be called the "Joint Avoidance Program.”

Understandably, he also is not holding his breath about the International War Crimes Tribunal which the Security Council has now approved to be set up in the Hague. "It depends who the prosecutor is," he told the Washington Report. In fact, the Security Council resolution does not explain how the U.N. expects to arrest and deliver the criminals when its forces to date have only stood by and watched the crimes being committed.

The charter of the court mandates that "states shall comply without undue delay" with requests for identification and arrest of suspects. Short of military occupation by international forces of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia, this seems inherently unlikely.

As White House Abdicates Leadership, Non-Aligned Nations Pick Up the Burden
Whatever action the U.N. has taken over Bosnia has been largely the result of continuous pressure from non-aligned members of the Security Council. These are Djibouti, Morocco, Pakistan, Cape Verde and Venezuela, backed occasionally by Brazil, New Zealand and Hungary, despite resistance from the Europeans--including the Russians. That is, of course, a stark contrast with the days of the Gulf war, when the corridors of the United Nations echoed to the sound of cracking elbows as the United States twisted the arms of nonaligned nations to secure an overwhelming majority for Desert Storm. The complete absence of any leadership from President Bill Clinton's White House now allows European would-be superpowers, "drest in a little brief authority," to thwart the non-aligned moves for stronger action in the Balkans. If the tame duck president in the White House started quacking, however, there is little doubt that Paris and London would fall in line behind more effective U.S. action, probably with a collective sigh of relief from their own publics.

Security Council Adopts Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Report
As if to point out its own double standard, at the end of May the Security Council adopted the report of the technical committee on demarcating the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait, and pledged to guarantee its inviolability with the full force of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. Somewhat disingenuously, the Security Council claims that the commission "was not reallocating territory between Iraq and Kuwait," but simply marking on the ground the exact coordinates agreed to in 1962.

In fact, the boundary, accurate to within a ludicrously precise 1.5 centimeters, is not where the British maps put it when they were ceremoniously placed before the Security Council two years ago. A lot of inspired compromises have gone into determining where the key pivot of the northern boundary is. Originally it was 1,000 paces south of the last palm tree (now deceased and disappeared) south of Safwan, on a road that is no longer in use.

While the commission has sought to be scrupulously fair, its work has not been approved by Baghdad--which is, of course, reluctant to admit that there is an international boundary, let alone that it assigns more territory to Kuwait than anyone suspected belonged on that side of the boundary. However, in completing its work by delineating the maritime boundary in the strait between the Kuwaiti island of Warbah and mainland Iraq, the commission stressed that both parties should have full freedom of navigation to their respective territories, thus guaranteeing Iraq continuing access to its port and naval base at Umm Qasr. Although they initially resisted this provision, the Kuwaitis eventually accepted the majority view and wasted no time in subsequently pushing successfully for the resolution pledging U.N. intervention to defend the frontiers.

Israeli "Chicanery" Stifling Economies of Occupied Territories
As a consequence of the Gulf war, life in the Israeli-occupied territories became even more insupportable, as deported Palestinians returned home and their remittances no longer flowed in. Between that, the intifada, and 25 years of being treated as Israel's bantustans, the West Bank and Gaza economies are at a distressingly poor level. The amount of remedial work needed is made clear in a recent U.N. Development Program Report.

UNDP is the only U.N. agency apart from UNRWA which is allowed to work in the territories, and finds itself caught between two stools. It has to cooperate with the Israeli authorities, as Israeli diplomat Arie Tenne made clear when he reminded UNDP's governing council in June that the government of Israel was host to the "Program of Assistance to the Palestinian people" which must "not succumb to ulterior political motivation." This was presumably a reference to the succession of U.N. resolutions telling Israel to get out of the territories.

Reading the report, however, it is clear where the real political interference is coming from. It took many years before the program was allowed even to open an office in the territories. The branch in Gaza still is waiting, after many years, for a telephone line.

On the other hand, as Palestine's observer at the United Nations, Nasser El Kidwa, stated at the same meeting, the U.N. agency is "the only feasible means of economic assistance to the Palestinians in the occupied territories." Its report was compiled by Dutch diplomat Robert J. van Schaik, who toured the West Bank and Gaza at the end of last year. In between some technical recommendations on how UNDP should operate, it also includes a very useful thumbnail sketch of the dire economic straits of the territories. (Copies of the 195-page report are available from Tim Rothermel, UNDP, United Nations, 1 U.N. Plaza, New York, NY 10017)
The report lists many serious problems facing any independent Palestinian state.

The report does provide some lighter moments with its deadpan recital of Israeli official comments, e.g. "Israeli military authorities presented their plea also as a moral case; in particular, as they said, since Arab funds have ceased to flow, it is their duty to help `the Arabs' to rebuild their economy.”

For the Israeli military government to talk of morals is an egregious example of chutzpah, as readers quickly ascertain. The report itself touches upon Israeli actions to cripple the development of any independent Palestinian economy which would compete in any way, internally or in exports, with Israeli producers. As the report puts it, Israeli "red tape and bureaucratic ill-will" and even "chicanery" have delayed and aborted projects put foward by the agency.

Aside from the malice of occupation authorities, the report lists many serious problems facing any independent Palestinian state. These include water supplies, the neglected infrastructure, the crippled financial sector, and repressed and cash-starved civic institutions which would have to compete in local markets with Israeli and Jordanian special interests. Since Palestinians everywhere in the diaspora have proven themselves enterprising and economically ingenious and hyperactive, it is a testament to the negative powers of the Israeli occupation that the economies of the territories remain so stunted.

Hopes Recede for Western Sahara Referendum
On the other end of the Arab lands, other refugees also can testify to the inefficacy of U.N. resolutions. Almost 20 years after the Moroccan and Mauritanian annexation of Western Sahara in defiance of U.N. resolutions, many of the Sahrawis still are camped out in the desert, while their places have been taken by hundreds of thousands of people who arrived from Morocco in the Green March.

Three years ago the U.N. began operations to monitor a cease-fire between the Algerian-backed Polisario and Morocco, and to conduct a belated referendum on whether the Sahrawis wanted total independence or to join Morocco. At the time, the electorate agreed upon by the U.N. and the parties was the 170,000 names in the last colonial census before Spain abandoned the territory, plus any odd souls missed out in that count. When the Moroccan government realized it was likely to lose a vote on that basis, it persuaded outgoing U.N. Secretary Perez De Cuellar to open the voting rolls to almost the same number again of persons now living in Morocco who allegedly had left the Spanish Sahara before the census was taken.

Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali toured the region at the beginning of June and conveyed to Polisario the latest offer on the referendum by King Hassan II of Morocco. Polisario sources told the Washington Report that the offer was "even worse than the Perez De Cuellar deal." However, with their main sponsor, Algeria, now preoccupied with domestic affairs, and with Morocco actually on the Security Council, Polisario supporters' hopes for a speedy referendum seem slim.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Williams, Ian
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Israel and the Law: Israel Denies Muslim's Right to Live In Jerusalem's "Jewish Quarter”


Kahn, Kenneth R. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 38.


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Israel and the Law: Israel Denies Muslim's Right to Live In Jerusalem's "Jewish Quarter”

In 1978, Israel's High Court of Justice upheld the right of a Jerusalem public corporation to reject the application of an East Jerusalem-born Muslim to rent an apartment in which he had been living, on land which had been owned by his father until it was expropriated by the Israeli government. In reaching its decision, based largely on the fact that the apartment is in a section of the Old City the government considers the "Jewish Quarter," the court ruling seemed to deviate sharply from the human rights provisions of the charter of the United Nations, to which the government of Israel has pledged adherence.

On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel came into existence as a result of the partition resolution passed earlier by the United Nations, and in accordance with a declaration written by members of the Jewish community of Eretz-Israel.

The declaration stated that the state of Israel "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the charter of the United Nations.”

Despite the pledges in the declaration, however, a system of apartheid and discrimination soon was established in all areas of Israeli existence. A case in point is the struggle of Muhammad Sa'id Burkaan, who sued the minister of finance, the Corporation for Restoration and Development of the Old City of Jerusalem, Ltd. and the minister of housing, alleging discrimination in the rental of an advertised apartment.

Mr. Burkaan sought to lease an apartment from which he had been evicted in the refurbished former "Jewish Quarter" of the Old City. The defendant Corporation for Restoration and Development of the Old City of Jerusalem refused his application, despite its appearance as a response to an advertised "tender of apartments to the public.”

The defendants maintained that Mr. Burkaan did not meet their requirement that the applicant be a resident Israeli citizen who was a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), or who had received an exemption from service as a member of a Jewish organization prior to May 14, 1948, or a new immigrant who is a resident of Israel. The defendants said Mr. Burkaan, as a Jordanian citizen, did not qualify to lease such apartments.

As in American courts, the defendant government agencies involved began their defense by challenging the jurisdiction of the Israeli High Court of Justice to hear the case. They stated that since the owner of the apartment does not exercise a public function, the defendants are only subject to the jurisdiction of the regular courts and not the Israeli High Court.

Israel's High Court
Israel's High Court of Justice has many functions similar to those of the United States Supreme Court. Like its American counterpart, the Israeli court hears writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, as well as suits brought to challenge criminal indictments and the rulings of individual judges. The Israeli High Court consists of a president, deputy president and eight members. Normally, three members hear a case, except at the request of the president or the deputy president.

The court ruled that it had jurisdiction, even if the defendant does not exercise a public function. The court determined also that the actions of the defendants amounted to a public invitation. However, no contractual relationship was established with the plaintiff, Mr. Burkaan, as a result, the court ruled.

Ironically, Mr. Burkaan was applying to live upon land that once was owned by his father. In Israel, such a state of affairs would not be unusual, as more and more land is confiscated and the record of original ownership is obliterated by time, politics and the lack of documentation.

Not only did Mr. Burkaan desire to rent an apartment built upon his own family property, he alleged that his father had lived there since 1947 and that the property has been "since time immemorial Muslim property." The house itself had passed from Jewish to Muslim ownership during the riots of 1938. "Jews never lived in it," he added.

To establish his residence at the disputed site, the plaintiff presented a letter dated June 16, 1968 from the prime minister and the minister of finance stating that since 1963 he had been renting one of the apartments in the house now offered for rent.

However, other information presented to the court indicated the plaintiff had moved himself and his family from the house to Beit Hanina. Therefore, the court accused him of lying about his place of residence, determining that he had left behind only a few personal belongings, and had attempted to create the impression that he had been evicted when, in fact, the family had left voluntarily.

Ironically, Mr. Burkaan was applying to live upon land that once was owned by his father.

In point of fact, however, the issue before the court was not the circumstances under which the family left, nor of where they currently were living. The question facing the court was to determine whether a supposedly public offering for housing was, in fact, a truly public offer, as most people would interpret the meaning of the term "public," or came with strings attached.

The irony that the complainant was only seeking permission to lease or purchase property that once had belonged to his family and had been illegally confiscated was not the issue before the court.

Mr. Burkaan began his campaign to retain an apartment in the building under the public offer by persuading Israeli television to film his eviction from the building. Instead of being persuaded by the existence of a filmed record of his eviction, the court's reaction was that "recourse to the media and appeal to public opinion amounts to contempt of court.”

The court ruled that "a petitioner seeking relief from this court is obliged to keep silent outside the courtroom, lest his recourse to the media be construed as an expression of no confidence in the court." Furthermore, the court added, "as far as I am concerned that is in itself sufficient to dismiss the petition.”

The balance between the public's right to know and the dignity and impartiality of the court was dealt another blow with the court's opinion that because Mr. Burkaan's attorney, Abraham Lenman, had spoken with the media in some detail about the case, he had violated professional ethics. The court suggested that "the state attorney should consider whether it is appropriate to file a complaint" against Mr. Lenman.

Nor was the court convinced by the heart of Mr. Burkaan's complaint that in setting up requirements which Jews but not Muslims could meet, the owners had established discriminatory requirements contrary to Israeli law.

Instead, the court found that although the term "Israeli citizen includes non-Jews, whether Muslim, Druze or Christian Israelis," the restrictions of apartments to those citizens who served in the military is "reasonable in view of clear security considerations.”

Additionally, the court determined that "it is not necessarily wrong to discriminate between citizens and non-citizens (remembering that Mr. Burkaan is a Jordanian citizen) as regards benefits from national assets or economic rights.

The "Need" to Restore the "Jewish Quarter”

The court examined the "need" to restore the "Jewish Quarter," stating, "it is only natural that the restoration be intended to revive the previous splendor of the Jewish community in the Old City, so that Jews will again, as in the past, have their own special quarter, alongside the Muslim, Christian and Armenian Quarters. There is no wrongful discrimination in the singular appropriation of these quarters, each to its own community.”

Pointing out that Mr. Burkaan is a Jordanian citizen, the language of the court's decision became more emotional with the statement that "such discrimination appears to me justified and proper; we cry out and protest against the wrong done to us by the Jordanians in the Old City, and it should not be demanded of us to give `them' the opportunity to return to settle specifically in the Jewish Quarter. Both security and political considerations explain and justify such discrimination." The High Court therefore set aside and dismissed Mr. Burkaan's petition.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Kahn, Kenneth R
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Maghreb Mirror: Libya's Jerusalem Misstep

Noakes, Greg. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 39.


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Maghreb Mirror: Libya's Jerusalem Misstep
The unprecedented visit of 192 Libyan pilgrims to Jerusalem, and their subsequent hasty retreat, created considerable confusion about the trip's purpose and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's motive for permitting it. Whatever his initial aim, in the end Qaddafi managed to offend all parties concerned, with nothing to show for his trouble.

The incident began with the arrival in Israel by bus from Egypt of nearly 200 Libyans to visit Jerusalem's Islamic monuments, including the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. They said they had been unable to fly from Libya to Saudi Arabia to participate in the hajj to Mecca, which was taking place at the same time, and thus had decided to visit Jerusalem instead.

Speculation shifted to a possible visit by Qaddafi himself.

The Saudis in fact had told the would be pilgrims they were welcome to participate in the hajj, but that United Nations sanctions stemming from the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, prohibited anyone from flying directly from Libya to Saudi Arabia, or to any other country. The pilgrims would have to travel overland to a third nation and fly to Saudi Arabia from there, which the Libyans said they were unwilling to do.

The pilgrims then did exactly what they had objected to before, traveling overland from Libya to Egypt and then onward by bus to Jerusalem instead of flying to Mecca. At the Israeli border they were greeted by Tourism Minister Uzi Baram and former Israeli Mossad and Iran-contra conspirator Yaacov Nimrodi, who had organized the visit with Qaddafi, using as an intermediary Saudi arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi, who was also an Iran-contra participant. The Libyans' arrival received widespread publicity in Israel, where reports of clandestine contacts between Tel Aviv and Tripoli to arrange for the pilgrims' visit had started appearing in the press nearly two months beforehand.

A number of Israeli officials expressed skepticism about the visit, saying Qaddafi was using it to modify his public image in the West and forestall the imposition of additional U.N. sanctions against Libya. Washington has repeatedly accused Tripoli of sponsoring terrorism, and Britain and the U.S. have refused to compromise on their demand that two Libyan suspects in the Pan Am bombing case be tried in a Scottish court. France also is pressuring Libya for information about the bombing of a French UTA airliner over the Sahara in 1987. There has been talk of an international ban on Libyan oil exports, which would cripple the country's petroleum-based economy.

Nevertheless, some prominent Israelis interpreted the trip as the first step in establishing diplomatic ties with Libya, and Police Minister Moshe Shahal said Israel had discussed normalization of relations in clandestine meetings with Libya, "an Arab state we have nothing against." Speculation then shifted to further Libyan overtures toward Israel, including a possible visit by Qaddafi himself. Nimrodi told reporters the Libyan leader "will visit this year," and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told a Knesset panel that Qaddafi would be "welcome." Khashoggi informed the Israeli daily Davar before the pilgrims' trip that Qaddafi was prepared to normalize relations with Israel, and that the Libyan leader "wants to make peace with the Jewish people.”

News of the pilgrimage angered Arabs and Muslims around the world, who saw the visit as a tacit acceptance of Israel's occupation of Jerusalem and the Islamic holy places in the Old City. Citizens of Arab states (with the exception of Egypt) generally have been discouraged or prohibited by their governments from visiting Israel in the past because of the Arab-Israeli conflict, while a number of Muslim religious leaders repeatedly have called on non-local Muslims to abstain from traveling to Jerusalem while it remains under Israeli control. Aside from protesting the Israeli occupation, the Muslim boycott also serves as an expression of solidarity with the local Muslim population.

The claim by the Libyan pilgrims that their trip was made for religious rather than political reasons failed to convince many Palestinians, who fiercely criticized the Libyans' decision to travel to Jerusalem when Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza are prohibited from entering the city and worshipping at its Muslim and Christian shrines due to Israel's closure of the occupied territories. Palestinians in East Jerusalem erected barricades in the streets leading to Al Aqsa to keep the Libyan pilgrims out of the mosque.

Faced with mounting hostility in the Arab and Muslim worlds, the pilgrims' leader, Salim Tajouri, called a press conference in Jerusalem to read a Libyan government statement calling on Muslims to rise up and free Jerusalem from Israeli control. The pilgrims were visiting Jerusalem as "the capital of the state of Palestine," the statement from Tripoli announced. Speaking for themselves, the pilgrims read a statement saying Israel "is not a state defined by borders, but simply the name of a prophet mentioned in the Qur'an.”

The abrupt change in tone prompted several right-wing Knesset members to propose deporting the Libyans. The pilgrims pre-empted any such action by announcing that they had decided to cut their visit short. They avoided any further statements as they left Israel by bus, saying only that they were eager to return to Jerusalem.

Whether the pilgrims' visit was initially designed as a harbinger of peace between Libya and Israel, an effort to placate Western public opinion and head off more international sanctions, or as an attempt to embarrass Saudi Arabia, with which Qaddafi carries on a long-running feud, it ended in unmitigated disaster for Tripoli. Qaddafi's provocative pilgrimage confirmed that the only thing predictable about the Libyan leader is his unpredictability.

Moroccan Opposition Will Participate in Elections
Morocco's four largest opposition political parties have agreed to participate in parliamentary elections scheduled for June 25, despite persistent rumors to the contrary. The four-party opposition bloc, which includes the nationalist Istiqlal, the Socialist Union of People's Forces (USFP), the leftist Organization of Democratic and Popular Action, and the Communist Party of Progress and Socialism, says the government manipulated the last legislative elections in 1984, but that guarantees for "fair, honest and transparent" balloting are in place this time around.

In response to opposition concerns, the Moroccan government has revised electoral rolls, issued new voter identity cards and redrawn constituency boundaries. The new parliament will be larger than the assembly it replaces, growing from 306 to 333 seats. Two-thirds of the legislators will be directly elected, with the remaining 111 members selected by interest groups including local councils, professional organizations and trade unions. The Istiqlal and the USFP announced they would submit a joint list which would contest all 222 seats up for direct election.

Political Developments in Algiers
Algerian head of state Ali Kafi announced in May that a constitutional referendum will be held before the end of the year to decide how the country should resume its democratic experiment, abruptly halted by the army in January 1992. Kafi did not specify what questions will be placed on the ballot, but the referendum will probably contain proposals for some type of governmental body to replace the present five-man High Council of State, whose mandate to rule expires on Dec. 31 of this year.

Many observers believe that the talks are irrelevant without participation by the FIS.

The referendum is seen as a first step to restore faith in the nation's political system, though Kafi argued that multiparty elections and "real democracy" can resume only with long-term economic development. Algerian Prime Minister Belaid Abdeslam has said previously that economic reforms will require a minimum of three years to complete. In the meantime, Kafi announced, the National Consultative Council, an appointed advisory body which replaced the country's dissolved parliament, will be expanded to admit opposition politicians and will be given "reinforced prerogatives.”

Kafi also announced that ongoing talks with political parties, including the former ruling National Liberation Front and the Islamist Hamas and Al Nahdha parties, would continue in order to build consensus on the nation's future. He rejected talks with the main opposition party, the outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). The two largest Algerian leftist parties, the Front of Socialist Forces and the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), are boycotting the discussions with the government, with the RCD refusing to sit with any Islamist parties. Many observers believe that the talks are irrelevant without participation by the FIS, but the leftist parties' refusal to talk is an indication of the government's isolation.

A High Death Toll
Kafi said the state is winning its fight against Islamist militants and that "the escalation of terrorist acts. . .is being combatted more and more efficiently by security forces." More than 600 Algerians have been killed since the outbreak of political violence in February 1992.

U.N. Official to Western Sahara
The United Nations has appointed Britain's Erik Jensen, a senior U.N. diplomat, to head a voter identification commission for the Western Sahara. Jensen's commission will begin registering voters from a 1974 Spanish census of the disputed territory for a referendum planned for the end of the year. The referendum has been repeatedly delayed because of disagreements over voter eligibility between the government of Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front. Rabat has pressed for an expanded list of voters, which Polisario claims would be used to stack the vote in favor of Morocco.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Noakes, Greg
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: As U.S.-Iran Trade Soars, A Clinton Administration Clampdown?


MacKinnon, Colin. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 41.


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Special Report: As U.S.-Iran Trade Soars, A Clinton Administration Clampdown?

Here's a dilemma: The administration of President Bill Clinton is talking tough on Iran and probably means it. At the same time, U.S.-Iran trade since the Islamic revolution has reached record levels. How is the administration going to square a get-tough policy toward Iran, particularly one that requires jawboning European allies, Russia and the People's Republic of China, with growing U.S. trade with the Islamic Republic?

U.S.-Iran Trade
Given the continuing animosity between the two countries--not to mention stringent U.S. legal constraints on trade with Iran--it might seem surprising that any commerce between the two exists at all. Last year, however, the Iranians bought $748 million worth of goods directly from the U.S., up 42 percent from the year before. In 1991 they bought $527 million worth, up 217 percent from 1990. These relatively large Iranian purchases have put the U.S. into sixth place among Iran's trading partners.

Commerce Department officials say that most of the U.S. sales have been oil field equipment, followed by food and consumer goods. Until late last fall, department officials also were granting export licenses on a case-by-case basis for "dual-use" and "sensitive" items such as computers and scientific instruments. U.S. officials stopped the practice after passage of the tough "Iran-Iraq Non-Proliferation Act" last October, which forbids the sale of any such items.

Additional large quantities of U.S. goods not counted by the Commerce Department are going to Iran from subsidiaries of American companies in Europe and elsewhere, and via traders in third countries such as the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai maintains its old entrepot function. The Commerce Department won't give estimates, but indirect U.S. sales to Iran must be at least as large as direct sales.

Trade's a One-Way Street
Trade between the two countries is almost entirely one-way, however. Americans sell, Iranians buy. U.S. law forbids all U.S. purchases from the Islamic Republic except newspapers, books, and other publications to be used for journalistic and educational ends. One theoretical exception is Iranian crude oil, which can be imported legally if the proceeds go to refill the security account at the Hague Tribunal, but none has entered the U.S. under this exemption since 1991.

Total U.S. imports from Iran last year therefore totaled a measly $800,000. In terms of trade balance, U.S.-Iran trade is a U.S. bureaucrat's dream.

U.S. Companies Top Buyers of Iranian Oil
American petroleum companies are more deeply involved with Iran, however, than these figures illustrate. Strange but true, U.S. firms have replaced their Japanese counterparts as the number one buyers of Iranian crude oil.

According to Ira Josephs of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, current contracts allow U.S. companies to buy from $3.4 billion to $4.7 billion worth of Iranian oil annually (at $15 a barrel). If U.S. firms buy the maximum, they'll be supplying over a quarter of Iran's projected oil income this year.

None of this Iranian crude is imported directly into the U.S. Most, maybe all, is sold or refined in Western Europe and the Far East, though some may be refined in a convenient location outside the U.S.--say the Virgin Islands--and brought in legally.

The biggest U.S. purchaser of Iranian oil is Exxon, which has contracts for up to 300,000 barrels a day. Other U.S. companies buying from Iran are Coastal, Phibro, Bay Oil, Texaco, Cargil, Caltex, Chevron, and Mobil. Most of these have contracted for between 50,000 and 100,000 barrels per day.

The U.S. companies, of course, are not buying this much Iranian crude for sentimental reasons. Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia are openly warring over market share, and the Iranians, who need money, are presumably offering their petroleum at the right price.

New Administration, New Policy?

In May, newly appointed National Security Council adviser on the Middle East Martin Indyk delivered what was clearly intended to be a defining speech on administration Middle East policy. Aside from the troubling political implications, what Indyk had to say contained broad, if foggy, indications as to how the U.S. will deal with Iran commercially.

Indyk said that the U.S. would maintain the "sanctions and other measures" earlier administrations had put in place. He also promised jawboning against arms and nuclear sales. "We will work energetically to persuade European and Japanese allies, as well as Russia and China, that it is not [in] their interests to assist Iran to acquire nuclear weapons or the conventional means to pose a regional threat," he pledged.

The administration also will urge foreign governments to limit severely their export credits to Iran. "Nor do we believe it is in their interests to ease Iran's economic situation so that it can pursue normal commercial relations on one level while threatening our common interests on another level," Indyk explained.

What is new in Indyk's speech is a repeated linking of Iran and Iraq.

This also means U.S. pressure on international lending institutions, notably the World Bank, to limit credits to Iran. The U.S. may already have succeeded at the bank. Iran had been projected to receive as much as $4 billion over the next few years in loans from the bank. According to some World Bank sources, however, word has come down from top management to hold Iranian lending to $1.5 billion and restrict it to humanitarian projects.

So far not much is new here, except perhaps a greater focus on Iran. What is new in Indyk's speech is a repeated linking of Iran and Iraq and the implication that the two should be looked on as equals and treated as such.

"Iran does not yet face the kind of international regime that has been imposed on Iraq," Indyk said. Note the "not yet." "To the extent that the international community. . .succeeds in containing Iraq but fails to contain Iran, it will have inadvertently allowed the balance of power in the Gulf to have tilted in favor of Iran, with very dangerous consequences.”

Indyk then goes on to pledge "a more energetic effort to contain Iran and modify its behavior even as we maintain the sanctions regime against Iraq.”

Indyk didn't spell out what sort of "effort," but he said containment involves persuading other countries that Iran is currently weak ("Iran's threatening intentions for the moment outstrip its capabilities") and a poor credit risk ("It is $5 billion in arrears on its short-term international loans and this figure is growing in leaps and bounds").

Indyk certainly gave no explicit indication that the administration would go for a Libya-style export regime--that is, cut all U.S. exports to Iran and forbid U.S. oil companies to traffic in Iranian crude. But the option is open and the administration may well exercise it at some point.

How about international sanctions? Will the administration try to get some kind of multilateral regime put on Iran? Unlikely on the face of it. The administration sent up a trial balloon earlier this year by calling for further sanctions on Libya. There were no takers.

Attempts in the past to get the Europeans and others to stop selling Iran dual-use items haven't worked. Unless Iran is implicated in some major new outrage, getting the international community to impose sanctions on it will be a non-starter like the Libyan affair and the administration knows it.

Still, the administration is talking tough, and that "not yet" in Indyk's speech has an ominous ring for American firms planning to increase their exports of goods or services to Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's Iran.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author MacKinnon, Colin
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Security and Intelligence: Kuwait Rebuilds Its Defenses Despite Challenges by Parliament

Dunn, Michael Collins. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 42.


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Security and Intelligence: Kuwait Rebuilds Its Defenses Despite Challenges by Parliament
Kuwait, the only Gulf Arab state with an elected parliament--and one controlled by the opposition at that--is wrestling with the effort to rebuild its defenses in the wake of the Iraqi invasion and occupation of 1990. It also is facing charges from parliamentarians concerning the poor performance of Kuwait's armed forces in August 1990, and rumors of corruption and kickbacks in the defense procurement process.

Kuwait has budgeted billions to rebuild its defenses in the wake of the occupation. Much of Kuwait's equipment was destroyed during the occupation, although some of its aircraft escaped to Saudi Arabia. Now that the fires are out and Kuwait's oil production is recovering, the government is committed to major defense purchases to replace lost equipment.

Parliament, dissolved in the 1980s and reconvened last year in accordance with wartime promises by Kuwait's rulers, is highly critical of the government's past defense policies. The Kuwaiti armed forces were not even on alert on the night of the Iraqi invasion. Parliament has demanded an investigation of the Defense Ministry, and as a result some reshuffling is now taking place.

Member of Parliament Mubarak Al-Dawila, a deputy with Islamist affiliations, has led the charge against corruption and graft in defense procurement. He has charged extensive impropriety in the awarding of defense contracts, and a five-member committee has been set up to investigate all defense purchases since the Gulf war. Some already-contracted-for purchases might be in jeopardy as a result.

Kuwait is moving ahead in a number of other areas, ordering modern tanks--the American M-1--and additional heavy equipment. The McDonnell Douglas F-18s ordered before the war are entering service, and the Kuwaitis are thinking of selling off some of their older French Mirages. Spain recently sent a delegation to look them over.

Realistically, of course, Kuwait's tiny armed forces could not repel another Iraqi invasion in the future, nor could they defend the emirate against its other aggressive neighbor, Iran, should that become necessary. The Kuwaiti air force and armor are little more than "speed bumps" to slow down an invader until outside support arrives on the scene.

As a result, Kuwait has forged defense agreements with the U.S., Britain and France in the wake of the war, and has announced its intention of signing a defense agreement with Russia later this year. Defense Minister Sheikh Ali Sabah Al-Salim Al Sabah has indicated the Russian agreement will probably be signed in August. Kuwait was the first of the conservative Arab Gulf states to have ties with the former Soviet Union and has maintained good relations with Russia in the wake of the Soviet breakup.

There still is no indigenous Arab Gulf deterrent force.

The U.S.-U.K.-France-Russia agreements may put potential aggressors on notice that Kuwait has powerful friends who came to its rescue once and are pledged to do so again. There are, of course, some questions about whether another Desert Storm would be possible in some hypothetical future invasion of Kuwait, since the U.S. was the only country capable of mounting the intervention in 1990-91, and under President Bill Clinton the U.S. appears to have entered a period of major defense reductions and retreat from international engagements.

Despite pledges at the time of the war that the Gulf Cooperation Council would become a genuine defense alliance and would build up its joint forces, as well as the abortive "Damascus Declaration" which envisioned Egyptian and Syrian troops deployed on a long-term basis to the Gulf, there still is no indigenous Arab Gulf deterrent force. The GCC has agreed to increase its existing Peninsula Shield force slightly, but has shelved Omani proposals to build up a force of 100,000 men for Gulf defense. And, because the GCC states never were comfortable with the idea of large numbers of Egyptian and Syrian troops on their soil, the Damascus Declaration is essentially a dead letter.

At present, there is no immediate threat. Saddam Hussain's military has been crushed and Iraq is struggling with sanctions and with Western-imposed "no- fly zones" over its northern and southern regions. Iran has shown considerable assertiveness in pressing its territorial claims and other interests in the Gulf, but any actual military threat is likely to be years away. So far the Iranians have not been foolhardy enough to provoke Western intervention.

A New Maginot Line?

Kuwait has, however, faced frequent border incursions from Iraq. Nor has Iraq accepted the U.N. -drawn border demarcation which, although based on earlier agreements, has revealed that territory long assumed to belong to Iraq in fact lies on the Kuwait side of the newly demarcated line. Instead, Iraq periodically has tested Western resolve by crossing the border. One incursion was to remove missiles, another to remove stored equipment, and several have been to arrest oil exploration teams or others who have strayed into the formerly disputed zone the U.N. has declared Kuwaiti. The alleged dispatch of an Iraqi intelligence officer and his team on an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate former U.S. President Bush also was carried out overland through the desert.

Partly to put a stop to these persistent border violations and partly to deter any future Iraqi invasion, Kuwait has announced plans to build a huge defense ditch all along its border with Iraq. The ditch would be three meters deep and five meters wide and run along the entire 207-kilometer border. The Kuwaitis are also said to be considering using up to 1.3 million mines to reinforce this new fortification.

Of course, such fortifications always call to mind the Maginot Line, and raise the question of whether Kuwait is closing the barn door after the horse is already out. Iraq is probably not going to try to invade Kuwait again in the near future, and there are less elaborate types of sensors available to stop overland infiltration, once the border itself is demarcated. A potential aggressor might just as easily try to attack Kuwait from the sea, or through Saudi territory, as come the way the Iraqis did in 1990.

The plans for the big ditch, along with some of the other decisions made in the current defense buildup, raise the question of whether the Kuwaitis are yielding to the temptation of indulging in high-visibility prestige projects rather than really planning the best means of deterring foreign aggression. While F-18s and M-1 tanks are certainly highly capable fighting machines, Kuwait's small forces are going to be stretched very thin if anyone tries to attack them again. With the joint GCC defense schemes still nothing more than rhetoric, the only likely deterrents are the defense agreements with the U.S., Britain, France and Russia. The irony is that for years Kuwait was the Gulf state most opposed to dependence on Western or foreign forces for Gulf defense. Now, after its bitter seven months under Iraqi military occupation, and two more years spent in the unfinished work of repairing the resulting physical and psychological devastation, Kuwait is the Gulf state with the broadest range of defense agreements in place or under negotiation.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Dunn, Michael Collins
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Subcontinent: New Turn of Events in Pakistan

Ali, M M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 47.


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The Subcontinent: New Turn of Events in Pakistan
In an unprecedented show of judicial strength and objectivity, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has termed President Ghulam Ishaq Khan's dismissal of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and the abrogation of the National Assembly "ultra vires" (in excess of legal authority) and "unconstitutional." With the army standing aside from this unexpected turn of events, Ishaq accepted the decision of the court but refused to resign.

His interim government of a few weeks folded unceremoniously, however. With the National Assembly restored and Sharif back in the saddle, Ishaq returned to his machinations, and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto desperately sought to justify her new camaraderie with Ishaq, who removed her from power in 1990 just as he sought to remove Nawaz Sharif in 1993.

The current political instability in Pakistan is a direct legacy of Generals Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Zia Ul Haq. Ayub and Zia, in particular, spent 20 years destroying the first manifestations of democracy in an infant country with myopic policies that suited their own interests, but not those of the nation.

The constitution was severely mauled, political parties were banned, all avenues of political leadership were closed and the country was run by fiat. Army officers and bureaucrats improved their economic conditions, but the people suffered. Tribal and religious leaders, feudal lords and the agricultural land-owning class all were humored. These are the elites who now own the barrage lands (fertile areas with available water supply) and prime urban real estate in and around cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar.

The Supreme Court decision amounted to a condemnation of the way Ishaq Khan had performed as president. When he nevertheless declined to resign, it seemed likely he was up to further mischief. Nawaz Sharif, therefore, rushed to obtain a vote of confidence from the National Assembly. If Ishaq Khan wanted to reassert himself, he would have to do it through the provinces, where he had placed some of his cronies during the one-month window of opportunity presented by the interim administration.

That is the level at which Pakistan's sad drama now is being played out between Nawaz Sharif on one side and Ishaq Khan and Bhutto on the other. No principles are involved. It is purely a clash of personalities. The outcome is likely to be more court battles, civil unrest and, perhaps as a last resort, military intervention. If Nawaz Sharif is unable to extinguish the fires set by Ishaq and Bhutto, he may agree to early elections, seeking to capitalize on his current popularity. That Ghulam Ishaq Khan will ever bounce back with dignity is very doubtful. Benazir Bhutto, meanwhile, will have to produce new evidence of her devotion to democracy and the rule of law. Right now her political integrity is in question.

The Silver Lining
The court decision itself has opened a new chapter in Pakistan's brief history. In the past, when the courts were called upon to validate suspensions of the constitution and the imposition of martial law, they succumbed to pressure from the army. Trumped-up criminal charges against politicians and officials were heard, judicial procedures were violated, and laws of evidence were ignored. In one case, a prime minister, Z. A. Bhutto (Benazir Bhutto's father) was sent to the gallows more out of political fear than in pursuit of justice. Consequently, Pakistani courts had lost their credibility. By reversing President Ishaq Khan's orders, Chief Justice Nasim Hasan Shah has restored the credibility Pakistan's Supreme Court had lost.

A second ray of hope has come from the apparent decision of the army not to step into the dispute. After Ayub, Yahya and Zia established a bad tradition of military intervention, the appointment of the commander-in-chief had become highly politicized. Pakistan's constitution entitles the elected prime minister to name the commander-in-chief and the president makes the appointment. Under Ghulam Ishaq Khan this formality had resulted in a sorry tug-of-war with the prime minister.

As of this writing, however, Gen. Abdul Waheed Kakar, although handpicked by Ishaq, has kept his hands off the open dispute between the president and the prime minister. If the commander-in-chief remains uninvolved, it augurs well for democracy in Pakistan.

Kashmir: From "Paradise" to "Hell”

"Soldiers set fire to houses and shoot unarmed residents trying to escape. Detainees are tortured or shot dead in the night; civilians are raped and murdered." This is not an account of events in Bosnia or the Israeli- occupied West Bank and Gaza. It is what James Goldston and Patricia Gossman of Asia Watch observed during their recent visit to Kashmir.

Outraged at what they saw, they wrote in the May 25 Washington Post: "Kashmir used to be paradise on earth. Now it is hell . . . Until India takes steps to end the abuses . . . the United States should suspend all military assistance and military sales to India. And the United States should urge its allies to do the same." (See "Other Voices," page 100 in this issue.)
Everyone knows that things have taken a sharp turn for the worse over the past three years in Indian-held parts of Kashmir. More recently, even the local police force has declined to take orders from the Indian army and paramilitary units sent from New Delhi. According to Indian press reports, there are areas in Kashmir Valley controlled by the mujahedeen (Muslim guerrilla fighters) where Indian armed forces cannot enter.

In recent months, particularly after the Sopore massacre last January, New Delhi has increased its military actions, but without making political or territorial gains. The lead story in the May 31 issue of the mass-circulation Indian magazine India Today said: "The vital parameters of governance-- emotional, logistical, political--through which civilian authority is exercised over a people or territory, have been erased by Kashmir's fierce and tenaciously dogged determination to sever ties with India.”

While keeping up the military pressure, New Delhi has been vainly trying to drive a political wedge between different Kashmiri groups. Indian Minister Rajesh Pilot has offered military equipment to the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) if it would use the weapons against the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahedeen. JKLF leader Javed Mir declined the offer.

Reported Harinder Bawedja of India Today: "While in 1990 there were only 36 paramilitary companies (in Kashmir), today there are 300, and two more army divisions will move in this month.”

Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, like his predecessors, has been exaggerating the national repercussions of giving up on Kashmir, implying that allowing one religious or ethnic minority to sever the bond with India will cause the country to break up as other minorities follow suit. Irritated by the human rights organizations that publicize the plight of Kashmiris and report on the atrocities committed by Indian troops, Rao has changed some administrative hands in Kashmir.

Retired Army General Krishna Rao has been brought back as governor. He will be advised by Lt. Gen. Surinder Nath on rural areas and Lt. Gen. M.A. Zaki on law and order. Old Kashmir hands Ashok Jaitley and Wajahat Habibullah will also be assisting Krishna Rao. Thus far none of this has alleviated the deepening crisis.

Acknowledging the deterioration, for the first time in 45 years the United States publicly has challenged India's stance that Kashmir is part of its sovereign territory. In a speech to a select group in New Delhi, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State John Malott said the U.S. considers Kashmir "a disputed territory." "This is an issue to be settled peacefully by India and Pakistan, taking the views of the Kashmiris, both Muslim and non-Muslim, into account," Malott said, according to the May 20 issue of Dawn in Karachi.

Hard on the heels of Malott's visit came Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres with a strong contingent from Israel's ministries of defense and of industry. Their message, no doubt, was that in return for Indian purchases of Israeli goods, Israel could help India ingratiate itself with Washington.

From Kashmir itself, however, came the comment of moderate editor Khawaja Sanaullah Bhat of the Daily Aftab of Srinagar. "I don't say the people of Kashmir want to go to Pakistan," he wrote. "I don't say they want independence. But one thing I can say is they don't want to remain in India." That, by all accounts, is the reality.

What Indian leaders, and possibly their Israeli would-be advisers, are pondering, therefore, is whether America's new human rights- and democracy- oriented president might exert pressure to back up his professions. And, perhaps equally important, whether America's European allies will, once again, talk the White House out of applying the power only the U.S. still possesses to help settle a long-simmering dispute in Kashmir before it flares up into another human tragedy on an even greater scale than the sordid "ethnic cleansing" still continuing in Bosnia.

INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
Alumni Assn. of the Beirut Community School 89
American Bahraini friendship Society 105
American Journal of Islamic Social Science 110
American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) 71
Arabesque Collection 64
Arabic Tutorial 91
Council for the National Interest (CNI) 106
Islamic Book Center 53
Islamic Books and Tape Supply (IBTS) 21
Middle East Marketplace 68
Nazareth Project 85
United Palestinian Appeal (UPA) 87
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Badshahi mosque in Lahore)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Ali, M M
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Letter From Lebanon: Growing Links Between Iran and Lebanon Still Run Through Damascus

Raschka, Marilyn. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 48.


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Letter From Lebanon: Growing Links Between Iran and Lebanon Still Run Through Damascus
Although Lebanon is the focus of much of its attention, Iran has only a chargι d'affaires heading its embassy in Beirut, and there are no direct flights linking Beirut and Tehran. An agreement to start direct Iran-Lebanon flights was negotiated two years ago, but never implemented.

There is a one-word explanation for the lack of direct contacts: Damascus. In terms of Iranian-Lebanese relations, all roads lead there and, literally, all flights begin there. That's just one of the perks of being the main power broker in Lebanon.

"The most important embassy has to be in Damascus, that's clear," said a journalist interviewed by the Washington Report. Issues of policy are dealt with in Damascus, while Iran's embassy in Beirut restricts itself to visa requests and other consular services.

Security comes into play as well. Even though Iran's Beirut embassy maintains a low profile, its communications-dishstudded building presents an easy target for Israeli air attack. Rumors have it that a move to several smaller locations is in the works.

Lebanon's Shi'i community was estimated to be 17 percent of the population at the time Lebanon gained its independence in 1943. It now is thought to be more than 50 percent, making it the majority sect in a country which prefers to think of itself as a land of finely-balanced minorities. Nevertheless, a Lebanese government source who agreed to be interviewed insisted that the size of Lebanon's Shi'i community has little to do with Shi'i Iran's interest there.

"Lebanon is the head of a bridge Iran wants to build over Arab countries in the eastern Mediterranean," the source maintained. In the Israeli-occupied territories, Iran is Hamas' chief external supporter.

Today's growing official relations are a far but welcome cry from the days when Iranian relations with Lebanon were confined largely to Tehran's running of the Hezbollah militia's roughshod show in Lebanon. However, Shi'i Hezbollah militiamen in the areas adjacent to Israel's self-defined "security zone" in southern Lebanon have never been disarmed by the Lebanese army, and every Lebanese is uneasily aware of it.

"The most positive thing is the transitional nature of the relations with Iran," a newspaper source pointed out. "They are moving from unofficial [with militias] to the official.”

Early 1993 saw a number of visits by Lebanese government officials and deputies to Tehran under the banner of strengthening ties. But there were some knots to work out as well.

The Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and armed Hezbollah resistance to the Israeli presence in south Lebanon are the most sensitive issues between the two countries. Iran continues to believe the negotiations have produced nothing, and maintains that the best way to liberation and a just peace is to support the Islamic Resistance Front in Lebanon, of which Hezbollah is the most active member. Lebanon would like to see Hezbollah restrained to strengthen Lebanon's hand in pursuing peace negotiations to secure Israeli withdrawal from the occupied south.

The Lebanese delegation to Iran, led by parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a Syrian-oriented Lebanese Shi'i leader, worked hard to explain this position. Iran's expressed position was that no differences would be allowed to harm Lebanon's unity which, according to Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, "is the most important immunity against the Israeli enemy and the best way to liberation.”

But Iran's main power base in Lebanon continues to be Hezbollah. In addition to its heavily armed presence in the south, Hezbollah has since last summer's parliamentary elections earned itself six seats in the country's legislature--itself an expansion from the unofficial militia level to official participation in the government. This step toward legitimacy has, according to one press source, allowed Hezbollah to distance itself from "the Iranian community" and express some independence.

So what was on the menu when Lebanese and Iranian leaders sat down together in Tehran? And how did the Lebanese digest the fare?

The Menu in Tehran
Support for policy on deportees--The Lebanese delegation received nothing but praise and support for its refusal to allow Israel to use Lebanon as a port of deportation for the 400 Palestinian Muslims expelled in December. Iran's condemnation of Israel's deportation policy, and the deportees' own support for Lebanon's stand, made this item the easiest to deal with.

Assistance for reconstruction--Ayatollah Khamenei declared that Iran wanted to help Lebanon as much as possible. In fact, it is Iranian money that poured into Lebanon for social works that helped build Hezbollah's kingdom in the poorer Shi'i areas of Beirut, and in the south. But with increased Lebanese government assistance available, some sources see a conflict looming. "Iranian assistance groups build popularity on the suffering of others," said one Lebanese government official. "If the Lebanese government takes over rebuilding (the social services), these religious groups will feel they've lost their chance.”

There's already been a run-in over a proposed runway to be added to Beirut airport and other changes which would alter the Shi'i suburbs which border the airport. Accusations of "changing the ethnic color" of the area have been leveled at the government by some Shi'i leaders.

American factor--Well aware of Lebanon's appetite for good relations with the United States, Iran brought up its objections to U.S. attacks on Iraq with the visiting Lebanese delegation. This is part of Iran's policy of support for peoples under U.S. attack, even if Iran disagrees with regimes ruling them.

Iran would welcome a change in U.S. policy that would lead to friendlier relations with Washington. This would be of benefit to Lebanon which, in the past, has paid a heavier price than Iran itself for Iranian-U.S. tensions. A commemorative service was held at the present U.S. Embassy here in April on the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy, attributed to the Iran- connected Islamic Jihad organization. Just days before, the U.S. had reiterated its decision to keep Iran at the top of its list of countries that sponsor global terrorism.

Iran-watchers here warn the West against hysteria when it comes to Iranian-Lebanese relations. They argue that Lebanon in peace needs to strengthen ties with everybody, especially regional powers. And good Iranian- Lebanese relations are not new. Even in the era of the shah, aid flowed to Lebanon's Shi'i community.

If the West feels nervous over Iran's interest in its co-religionists in Lebanon's Shi'i community, "think of how the Shi'i feel when the Vatican expresses interest in the country's Christians," challenged a Shi'i source.

Lebanon's geographically, and now politically, strategic Shi'i community is the obvious reason for "the ties that bind" the two countries. But the years of hostage taking also played a role. "We entered into very special relations with Iran to get the hostages out," said a high-ranking Lebanese official as he argued for U.S. cancellation of the six-year-old U.S. State Department ban against American travel in Lebanon, and an eight-year revocation of Lebanese airlines' landing rights in the U.S.

There are no flights between Lebanon and the U.S. Nor are there flights between Lebanon and Iran. But somehow trade continues in both directions. Along with traditional Iranian carpets and caviar comes ideology and rhetoric. And alongside a model of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock on the airport road, a Diet Pepsi sign competes for the attention of even the most fundamentalist Shi'i.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Road from Beirut airport)


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Author Raschka, Marilyn
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Country Report: Oman; An Arab Model for All Developing Countries

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 49.


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Country Report: Oman; An Arab Model for All Developing Countries
Only 23 years ago Oman, a scenic country on the mountainous southeastern tip of the Arabian peninsula, had three private elementary schools, with a total of 900 students, all boys, and no public schools at all. The only education to which most Omani children could aspire was learning to read just enough to recite Qur'anic verses correctly.

Parents who wanted anything beyond that for their children had to send them out of the country to schools in the nearby United Arab Emirates, to Oman's former colony of Zanzibar where they could live with relatives while studying, or to relatively expensive boarding schools in Egypt.

Today, young Omani men and women who have been educated solely within their country are graduate students and teaching assistants at Sultan Qaboos University, which opened in 1986 some 40 kilometers from Muscat and Matrah, the twin cities of the capital area. Others, having obtained their B.A. or B.S. degrees in Oman, are doing graduate work at universities around the world, particularly in the United States.

Oman's evolution from one of the most technologically and educationally deprived countries in the world to a model of balanced economic and social development in only one generation is one of history's most astonishing, and inspiring, feats.

It was facilitated, of course, by revenues from Oman's first petroleum exports in 1967. But Oman's oil has never flowed in the quantities enjoyed by its two giant neighbors, Iran and Saudi Arabia, or some of the smaller Arab emirates of the Gulf. Initial production was so low, in fact, that Oman's ruler of the time, Sultan Said Bin Taimur, was reluctant to use the meager revenues to begin developing the modern infrastructure his only recently politically stabilized country so desperately needed.

When his son, Qaboos Bin Said Al Said, upon returning from a British military education at Sandhurst, urged his father at least to open schools to help Omanis acquire the skills needed to function as a nation in the modern world, he was put under virtual house arrest in a palace in his birthplace, Salalah, Oman's southernmost coastal city. It was from there, reportedly with encouragement from the British political advisers who had urged his father to send him to Sandhurst, that Sultan Qaboos took over the government on July 23, 1970, while his father, too, was in Salalah. That date marked the beginning of a bloodless educational, social and economic revolution that could become a model for every country still facing problems similar to those of Oman in 1970.

In addition to an almost totally illiterate population, Oman, with only two hospitals, had formidable health problems. It lacked even a rudimentary economic infrastructure, with fewer than 6 miles (10 kilometers) of paved roads, and only a scattering of homes in the capital served by electricity.

Although it is strikingly beautiful, Oman has a tiny population of no more than two million people widely dispersed over an area of 82,030 square miles (212,457 square kilometers), slightly smaller than the state of Kansas. Some Omanis lived in tiny date-producing oasis hamlets accessible only by footpaths through formidable mountains. Others were to be found in agricultural and fishing towns and villages, some reachable only by boat, in narrow plains and rocky inlets skirting some 1,056 miles of Indian Ocean and Arabian/Persian Gulf coastline.

Omanis were cut off from each other by mountain ranges dipping in some places directly into the sea, and from the rest of the Arabian peninsula by an inland desert plateau that blends imperceptibly into the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia. The young sultan, only 29 years old when he assumed power, set out systematically to overcome those problems. One of his first acts was to end a simmering civil war in his native Dhofar province and, in 1975, to demarcate Oman's border with Yemen, from which support for the rebels had come. The following year he launched the country's first five-year plan setting economic and social goals for his revitalized government.

Working in his favor were the basically peaceful and gentle nature of the Omanis, whom all foreign visitors find strikingly friendly and hospitable, and an Omani pride and self-assurance that stems from never having been colonized. Even occupation of the Omani ports of Muscat and Sohar by Portuguese seafarers, who first visited Oman in 1507, was brief. Oman's Imam Sultan Bin Saif expelled them on Nov. 18, 1650, a date now commemorated as Oman's national day. Omani ships then turned the tables, harassing Portugueseheld ports in Africa and Asia.

The Omanis themselves have been both colonizers and traders in various periods of history. Copper from the land of Magan, tentatively identified by archeologists as Oman, reached the Sumerians, founders of the world's first cities and inventors of the first writing system. Omani sailors, using the monsoon winds, were a link between Sumer in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the other two contemporaneous civilizations at the dawn of written history in the Indus River valley and the Nile River valley. To this day, copper is mined and exported from the vicinity of Oman's port of Sohar.

Some 3,000 years after the rise of Sumer, Roman writers were complaining that too much of the empire's wealth was bring drained off to pay for the frankincense from Oman that sent clouds of fragrant smoke heavenward from altars all over the ancient world. Today, visitors to traditional households in Oman are greeted with rosewater sprinkled on their hands upon arrival. As they depart, smoke from burning frankincense is directed through, around and under robes and dresses so that the guests will be wreathed in its pleasing, cleansing aroma as they emerge into the street.

Many of the legendary voyages of Sinbad the Sailor were launched from Omani ports, as were countless others that took South Arabian sailors from the Hadramaut ports of Oman and neighboring Yemen as far east as Guangzhou (Canton) in China as early as the seventh century A.D. Because Omanis embraced Islam in 630 A.D., during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, some 200 million Indonesians, Malaysians and Malays from Sarawak, Brunei and the southern Philippines are Muslims. They trace their Islamic religion and some of their ancestry to Hadramauti merchants who set up trading and sometimes ruling dynasties throughout Southeast Asia.

Baluchistan's Makran coast in present-day Iran and Pakistan was for many years a colony of Oman, and many Baluchis immigrated to Oman during and since that time. Along with other parts of Africa, the huge clove-growing island of Zanzibar (now a part of Tanzania), off Africa's east coast, also became an Omani colony in 1730, making Oman the only non-European country to hold possessions in Africa.

Ahmed Bin Said founded the present Al Bu Said dynasty in 1741 when he was elected imam. In 1785, the titles of imam and sultan were divided between his two sons. In 1798, Britain persuaded Said Bin Sultan Ahmed to sign the first of the friendship treaties that have linked Oman and Britain ever since. In 1831, at the height of its power as a trading and seafaring nation, Oman sent a sailing ship to Philadelphia to establish formal diplomatic relations with the United States.

Oman's sprawling overseas empire was split in 1856, however, when, after the death of its sultan, Britain settled a dispute between his sons by giving Zanzibar to one and Oman to the other. Oman subsequently lost its other overseas possessions. Then, rebellions that broke out in 1915 in the country's interior and were not settled until 1959 sealed the decline that ended only in 1970.

The colonial ties that once linked Oman and Zanzibar, however, had created an anomaly that served Oman well in the first urgent rush to catch up educationally. In the early years of the 20th century, an Omani trader might have a wife in Zanzibar and another in Oman. Before 1970, therefore, some Omani children raised in Zanzibar had excellent educations, while their siblings or cousins raised in Oman had none. After 1970, with Oman gradually opening to the world and conditions in Zanzibar deteriorating, hundreds of the better-educated Omanis became available to help staff the 720 primary and secondary schools opened by Sultan Qaboos during the first two decades of his rule.

He also brought thousands of teachers from other Arab countries, particularly Sudanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, Jordanians and Syrians. Others from the British Commonwealth, Europe and the United States arrived to teach Omanis foreign languages. Among the teachers and technicians who came to Oman in the late 1970s were an annual contingent of American Peace Corps volunteers, some of whom stayed to join American companies participating in the rush to apply Western technology to Oman's economic needs. By 1991, Oman employed 15,587 teachers in 800 schools for 360,066 students, including 192,985 boys and 167,081 girls.

The speed with which the economy developed under Oman's carefully prepared five-year plans was to some extent dependent upon the price of petroleum. Production was 720,000 barrels per day (b/d) in 1992, and the government's goal is to bring it to 750,000 barrels for the rest of the 1990s. Output is limited, however, by the fact that new oil deposits are being discovered at only a slightly higher rate than old ones are depleted.

In the late 1970s, when the price of petroleum skyrocketed, Oman built whole new suburbs in the capital area, permitting the expansion of the government into modern ministry buildings which, along with shopping centers and comfortable villas for the thousands of technocrats required for Oman's economic development, now extend in a continuous strip of sparkling white buildings along the scenic coastal hills for 20 miles between the original capital and its international airport.

At present, with the price of petroleum down by 50 percent from its heyday, and the costs of extraction in Oman considerably higher than in places like Kuwait, where oil literally gushes to the surface, Oman has fewer revenues to spend. It is concentrating them on development of other major population centers like the fishing center of Sohar, the inland agricultural center of Nizwa, the well-watered southern coastal center of Salalah, and the towns of the strategic Musandam peninsula, cut off from the rest of Oman by parts of the United Arab Emirates, but jutting into the Strait of Hormuz where the Arabian/Persian Gulf joins the Indian Ocean.

Three major goals of the current five-year plan are increased " Omanization," replacing foreign technicians and workers with Omanis as rapidly as possible; further diversification of the economy to lessen its heavy dependence upon oil; and increased privatization of Omani manufacturing and marketing. The goal of Omanization is by 1995 to have Omanis filling 72 percent of the public-sector positions, which Omanis generally prefer to positions in business.

Oman has expanded its fishing industry by providing fishermen with motors for their boats and cold-storage facilities for their catches. It is making similar improvements in agriculture and mining. Surprisingly, it has entered joint ventures with Kazakhstan in the former Soviet Union in the fields of oil extraction and creation of a trans-Asian gas pipeline. Oman also has purchased an interest in an oil refinery in Thailand to help secure a significant share of the Asian market for its petroleum. Oman, with an estimated 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, also is expanding its own gas production, and most of its power is generated and its heating and cooking done with natural gas.

Successes of Oman's generation of development are recorded in the country's statistics (see box). Politically, Oman remains an absolute monarchy. Like its Arabian peninsula neighbors, however, it is moving cautiously toward increased popular participation in government. Elections were held for delegates to a consultative assembly (Majlis Al Shura) created in November 1991. From among the three delegates elected from each local district, the sultan appointed one to participate in the assembly, which consists of a total of 59 delegates.

At present, Oman has two major radio stations and one television station, five daily newspapers and the Oman News Agency. In 1988, the country had registered 1,015,000 television sets, 890,000 radios, and 50,000 telephones. While preparing the public for more active participation in national affairs, the government has created this communications network to link the formerly isolated population centers into one national entity, united with its neighbors to the west by the Arabic language, and with its neighbors on all sides by Islam. Virtually all Omanis are Muslim, with more than 50 percent of Oman's Muslims adhering to the Ibadhi tradition.

Militarily, Oman has been the most outspoken of the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in favor of collective GCC defense measures backed up by defense treaties with the U.K. and U.S. It advocates creation of a 100,000-strong GCC joint security force capable of resisting aggression from any regional power until outside forces can reach the area.

Although its closest political and military ties traditionally have been with the United Kingdom, in 1991 Oman received $15 million in U.S. economic aid, and $600,000 in U.S. military aid. During the Gulf war, Oman permitted the U.S. to use Omani facilities to service Seventh Fleet ships operating from the Indian Ocean and U.S. aircraft operating temporarily from bases in the Gulf and permanently from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. In addition to its membership in the GCC, Oman also is a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the 21-member Arab League.

Throughout the first 20 years of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said's rule, Oman remained relatively closed to the outside world. Although foreign diplomats were free to come and go, technicians and businessmen needed a local sponsor, scholars and exchange students were carefully screened, and it was difficult for journalists to visit when they wished to. That, too, is changing. Groups of tourists now visit Oman, scholars are encouraged, and the government itself is inviting foreign journalists to come and judge the tranformation of the country for themselves.

There are surprises beyond the expanded roads, school system and nationwide health network of local clinics, regional general hospitals, and specialized treatment available in the national capital that makes modern medical care available to the most remote villager. There also is a system of civil courts and, in addition to traditional Islamic laws, a parallel civil law system that owes much to English common law.

Visitors also find that, after making the long journey from a pre- industrial society to the end of the 20th century in only 20 years, young Omanis now are applying what they have learned in some of the world's finest universities and technical schools to the environmental and societal considerations that will preoccupy the Western world in the century to come.

Clearly there are lessons to be learned in Oman that can be applied in many parts of the world where, for whatever reasons, the development process has been less successful, and its benefits spread less uniformly throughout society. If Oman's success, in both regards, has to be seen to be believed, its ruler now is making that possible. What first-time visitors will find are people who have retained the pride and much of the charm and simplicity from an illustrious past, while routinely producing miracles in this little-known land of infinite possibilities.

Oman at a Glance
Population 2 million (1993 estimate)
Total Land Area 82,030 sq. mi. (212,457 sq. km.)
Capital Muscat
Ethnic Distribution: Mostly Arab, small numbers of Baluchis, Indians.

Language Arabic
Religion 50% Ibadhi Muslim, remainder
Sunni and Shi'i Muslim and Hindu.

Literacy 20% (1989)
Per Capital Income $7,365 (1992 estimate)
Total GDP $11.86 billion (1992 estimate)
Major Industries: Petroleum production and refining (4.5 billion barrels proven reserves); natural gas production (17 trillion cubic feet estimated reserves); construction, cement, copper, dates, fishing.

Transportation: 22,800 miles of highway; one passenger ship; four transport aircraft; 122 airports (114 usable).

Chief of State: Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said (since July 23, 1970)
National Day Nov. 18
Climate: Hot and humid along the coast during the summer and pleasant during the winter.

Geographic Features: Narrow coastal strip, rugged mountains in north and south, vast interior desert plain.

Form of Government Absolute monarchy
Year Admitted to U.N. 1971
Organizations: Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, Organization of the Islamic Conference
Armed Forces: Total personnel
(army, navy, air force, royal guard) 29,500
Defense Spending $1.385 billion
U.S. Aid $600,000 military aid; $15
million economic aid.

Life Expectancy: Men 64 years; women 68 years
Birth Rate: 42 births per 1,000 population (1992)
Death Rate: 7 deaths per 1,000 population (1992)
Natural increase: 20 years to double population
Education: Not compulsory. 360,066 pupils attending 800 schools (1991); one university.

Communication: Two radio stations; one TV station; five daily newspapers (two in English: Oman Daily Observer, Times of Oman); Oman News Agency.

Trading Partners:

Exports: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan
Imports: UK, UAE, Japan, U.S.

Currency: rial, baiza
1 Omani rial = 100 baizas
$1 U.S. = .3843 Omani rials (1993)
National Airlines: Gulf Air handles most international flights. Oman Aviation for many internal flights.

Travel: Business visitors must have a local sponsor; no U.S. State Department restrictions; no innoculations required.

Embassies: Embassy of Oman, 2342 Mass. Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: (202) 387-1980. U.S. Embassy, P.O. Box 50200, Madinat Qaboos, Muscat. Tel: 698-989
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Mountain village with date palms in Oman)


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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Afghanistan; A People Adrift, A Country Aground

Ali, M M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 52.


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Special Report: Afghanistan; A People Adrift, A Country Aground
Trained in warfare and equipped with modern weaponry, but untutored and unprepared for modern statecraft and governance, where do guerrilla fighters go when their war is won? If they are Afghans, they go right on fighting. If they are Muslims, the world forgets them. Such is the present-day picture of the Islamic nation that played such a key role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Afghanistan is a rugged, landlocked country north of Pakistan and south of Tajikistan, bordered in the west by Iran and, in the east, not too far from the edge of China. Many of Rudyard Kipling's descriptions still are applicable to its strongly religious tribal society, where time appears to have halted a century ago.

Afghanistan lurks in the lowest brackets of the United Nations Development Program's 1993 Human Resource Development report, which records Afghan life-expectancy at little more than 43 years and literacy well below 20 percent. Unsanitary conditions and the absence of basic health facilities are not solely responsible for the high death rate. So is the war that Afghans fought for 14 years to drive out the occupying Soviet forces, using U.S.- supplied and Saudi-financed arms and Pakistani bases and training.

The toll on the Afghans is almost incomprehensible. Of a population of 16 million, more than 6 million fled to Pakistan or Iran, and another 1 million were killed. A third of the country was physically destroyed. Hardly a household does not include the orphans, widows, and maimed victims of the generation of fighting. During the Soviet occupation, the capital city of Kabul was comparatively safe, while the surrounding countryside was being ravaged. Now the rolls are reversed. As refugees trickle back to the countryside, Kabul is the arena for major battles involving nine contending tribal factions.

The Tajiks of the north are led by Ahmed Shah Masoud. The Pashtoons in the south are led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. After the Soviets had left and the Sovietinstalled communist government of Najibullah finally was about to fall, Masoud struck a deal with Najibullah's Uzbek deputy, Gen. Abdul Rasheed Dostam, and rolled his forces into Kabul before Hekmatyar's Mujahedeen troops could get there. Ever since March 1992 there has been stalemate, with Masoud's Tajiks and Dostam's Uzbeks inside Kabul under military attack from the capital's outskirts by Hekmatyar's Pashtoons. During this "post-liberation" period, an estimated 5,000 people have died and several thousand have been injured.

On April 28, 1992, Pakistan helped broker a deal whereby a moderate tribal chief, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, was appointed as the interim president of Afghanistan to form a government incorporating all of the contending factions. However, Hekmatyar declined to take the prime minister's post as long as Masoud held the defense portfolio and Dostam remained in Kabul. In December 1992, Pakistan again brought about a compromise when Burhanuddin Rabbani, a right- wing religious leader, was elected by the tribal chiefs to succeed Mojaddedi as the president. After weeks of negotiations, Hekmatyar agreed to assume the office of prime minister at a meeting in Islamabad last March. Masoud did not attend the meeting.

Signed But Not Implemented
What was signed was not carried out. Ahmed Shah Masoud remains entrenched in northeast and central Afghanistan. Hekmatyar controls the south. Hizb-e- Wahdat, a Shi'i group, holds parts of southwestern Afghanistan. Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a right-winger backed by the Saudis, occupies parts of western Kabul. Dostam rules the northeastern region with his strong Uzbek militia. With all of these groups contending for a share of control in and around Kabul, missile attacks, air raids and house-to-house gun battles are common. Major artillery exchanges continue between Hekmatyar's and Masoud's forces.

The deadly battles result from the large stocks of weapons supplied by the U.S. to the guerrillas and those that fell into the hands of the defenders when the former Kabul regime collapsed. Edward Gargan reported in the May 18 New York Times: "Kabul's population, which bulged to more than 1.5 million during the 14 years of war, has been cut in half in the last year as residents fleeing warfare have escaped to the east, to the relative safety of Jalalabad, and others to the northern territories.”

The irony of the Afghan situation is that the 6 million refugees who spent more than a decade living in tents finally are able to return home. The U.N. estimates that more than 1.5 million refugees returned to Afghanistan in 1992, and another 2 million are expected to return this year. Most find the houses they left behind are either devastated or occupied by someone else.

Some of the returnees have been killed by the ongoing cross fire. Others die when they step on the tens of thousands of mines that still lie concealed all over the country. Quoting an unidentified Pakistani intelligence official, Bob Drogin wrote in the Los Angeles Times of April 27, 1993 that "This region is going to remain destabilized for the next 15, 20 or 25 years." Drogin reports that "With their country in ruins, many Afghans are going back to cultivate a crop that needs little water or fertilizer--poppies.”

In late April and early May of this year, clashes between Hekmatyar's and Masoud's forces flared up, with more than 700 people reported killed and more than 3,500 wounded. The ferocity of the clashes caused representatives of the feuding groups to hold several meetings in Jalalabad to reach a compromise. President Rabbani announced on May 20 that Ahmed Shah Masoud would step down as defense minister, that a commission would run the ministry for the next two months, and then commanders from all the 29 provinces of Afghanistan would meet in Kabul to elect a permanent defense minister. A new cabinet encompassing members of all factions except the Dostam group was announced, with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as prime minister.

Despite sporadic gunfire, the agreement, appears to be holding. Abdul Rashee Dostam has said several times that he will hold on to the territory that he now occupies, even if it means breaking up the country. Whether that opens up the possibility of yet another war in Afghanistan, only time will tell.

Continued instability across the borders in Tajikistan is another factor that could have a negative impact on Afghanistan. Already more than 60,000 Tajik refugees from the former Soviet Union have entered Afghan areas controlled by Masoud's Tajik army. With the country's territorial integrity in the balance, it is a time when the Afghans who have demonstrated their military prowess must now also display their statesmanship.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Injured Afghani child in refugee camp in Pakistan)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Ali, M M
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan Moves Toward Democracy, Economic Independence

Dunn, Michael Collins. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 53.


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Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan Moves Toward Democracy, Economic Independence
Kyrgyzstan, nestled high in the Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia, is in many ways the most curious of the new Muslim states which emerged from the body of the old Soviet Union. It has a functioning multiparty democracy led by a respected physicist, Askar Akayev, at a time when most of the Central Asian countries are still run by ex-Communists. It recently moved to weaken the powers of its president at a time when other Central Asian leaders are making their presidencies into cults of personality.

Recently Kyrgyzstan became the first Central Asian country to scrap the ruble and establish its own new currency. Unfortunately, that experiment has not worked so well. Not only did it provoke a major crisis with much bigger Uzbekistan next door--which temporarily cut off links to the outside world--but it has also severely crippled Kyrgyz industry.

Kyrgyzstan, like most Central Asian countries, had been limping along with institutions inherited from the Soviet era. This spring the Kyrgyz parliament adopted a new constitution, scrapping the old Soviet institutions and setting up executive, legislative and judicial branches with carefully delineated powers. President Akayev's own powers were weakened and those of the prime minister--who becomes head of government while the president remains head of state--strengthened.

Pulling Out of the Ruble Zone
It was in this context that Kyrgyzstan set up its own currency and pulled out of the ruble zone. It was the first state in Central Asia to do so, but not the first ex-Soviet state. The three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, plus Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia, all have done so. Azerbaijan, another Muslim country of the old Soviet Union, also has announced a new currency, the manat, yet to be introduced.

Of all these new currencies, however, only one, the Estonian kroon, has managed to become fully convertible on international markets.

Kyrgyzstan originally had announced that beginning May 10, its new national currency, the som, would begin to circulate, exchangeable up to May 14 at 200 rubles to the som, with each som divided into 100 tyiyns. The International Monetary Fund encouraged the change.

But Uzbekistan, which borders Kyrgyzstan on the west and is a major trading partner, objected. Uzbek President Islam Karimov accused Kyrgyzstan of "subversion" for announcing the change without prior consultation with Uzbekistan. The Uzbeks seemed to fear mostly that demonetized rubles in the hands of Kyrgyz citizens would flow across the usually open border into Uzbekistan and disrupt the economy there.

The country has the most vigorous democracy in Central Asia.

Karimov declared that Uzbekistan would retaliate by cutting off gas shipments to Kyrgyzstan, closing down road and air links, and cutting off telephone lines. This would have crippled Kyrgyzstan. President Akayev and a senior delegation had to fly to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent with apologies in hand. Akayev called proceeding with the conversion without consulting with the Uzbeks a "mistake." The two discussed ways for the Kyrgyz to absorb extra rubles and guarantee that they would not flow into Uzbekistan.

Akayev seems to have placated the Uzbeks, but his apology also added to the impression that the Kyrgyz had not fully thought through the conversion, despite statements that IMF and Japanese investment funds would be used to stabilize and defend the currency.

Nor did Kyrgyzstan's troubles end there. Already facing the economic difficulties which have plagued all the former Soviet countries, and also struggling with the aftermath of the earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters of the past year or so, Kyrgyzstan's introduction of the new currency has created even worse economic dislocations. Many factories are cutting production and laying off workers. Factory managers had so little advance warning of the changeover that they could not negotiate new payment agreements with foreign suppliers in time for the change. Since trading partners are not yet prepared to accept the som instead of the ruble, factories have been unable to pay for parts and raw materials they had been importing, and production has declined sharply.

One of the problems encountered in the changeover is a legacy of Soviet rule. Kyrgyz industry was dependent on processing raw materials from other parts of the Soviet Union (and even sugar from Cuba), taking advantage of the hydroelectric power created by the country's mountain rivers. Thus Kyrgyz industry was almost wholly dependent on imports of raw materials, which have already stopped with the disruption created by the change to the som.

The suddenness of the change--aimed at preventing a run on banks or hoarding--caught not just the Uzbeks but other Kyrgyz trading partners off guard. The countries of Central Asia are still locked in an economic and trading network from the Soviet era and are not yet able to function completely as independent states without creating major problems for their neighbors. Akayev's characterization of the failure to consult with Uzbekistan is a fair assessment. A more gradual effort to switch to a new currency has been applied elsewhere, and is what Azerbaijan is seeking to do with the manat.

Kyrgyzstan's economic problems remain severe, and the changeover has made them worse. But the country has the most vigorous democracy in Central Asia. If they can defend the value of the som and find a way to pay suppliers, the Kyrgyz may have taken a step toward a more independent economy and begun to wean themselves away from dependence on their former Soviet big brothers in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Dunn, Michael Collins
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Cairo Communique: Egypt's Campaign Against Islamists, And Human Rights Concerns, Heat Up

Napoli, James J. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 54.


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Cairo Communiquι: Egypt's Campaign Against Islamists, And Human Rights Concerns, Heat Up
With apparent faith in the old saw that the best defense is a good offense, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa was heading for an international conference in Vienna in June to talk up his government's concern for human rights. Human rights in Bosnia and in the Israeli-occupied territories, that is.

In Egypt, concern for human rights is beginning to look increasingly like a luxury the government has decided it cannot afford. Evidence of indiscriminate arrests, incommunicado detentions without charge, beatings and torture is piling up.

The latest addition to the file was a report from Amnesty International, based in London, that exhaustively documents cases of such human rights violations.

But, even as Moussa was preparing a working paper for Vienna arguing that a single standard of human rights should be applied throughout the world, the Foreign Ministry was arguing at home that any assessment of the human rights situation in a given country should take into account its social, economic, cultural and political circumstances.

Naela Gabr, director of the Foreign Ministry's human rights department, said in a letter to the organization that the Amnesty report was only a collection of "extraordinary cases" that did not reflect a pattern.

But, Gabr added, no one could deny the impact that militant religious extremism was having on legal systems, particularly in the Middle East. Egypt retains its emergency laws and has passed sweeping legislation to deal with terrorism.

"It's getting much worse," said one Egyptian university professor. "The government is obviously afraid and insecure. Of course there are human rights violations. Dealing with the Islamic movement requires patience and moderation. The government wants shortcuts, so there are mass arrests and torture.”

In fact, human rights violations are something of a tradition in Egypt, and were certainly commonplace under presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.

In an interview with the Washington Report, the venerable journalist Mustapha Amin recounted the torture he underwent shortly after his arrest during the Nasser era. He claimed that Egypt's then-president even came down to the prison to watch him being tortured, maintaining that his torturers became particularly animated in their work when they knew the president was in the next room.

Nasser also made a special target of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had infiltrated every sector of society and was seen as a threat to his own power. Brotherhood leaders were arrested and tortured. The Islamists only recovered some of their power under Sadat, who found them useful for strengthening his own position. Although instances of torture and ill-treatment of political detainees declined under Sadat, large scale political arrests did take place.

"Dealing with the Islamic movement requires patience and moderation.”

In recent years, report after report sustains the allegation that widespread and systematic human rights abuses persist, and seem to be growing in number. This is despite the fact that in 1986 Egypt became the first Arab country to ratify the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Here's a brief sampling of reports:

* In October 1991, Amnesty International released a report entitled "Ten Years of Torture" to mark the decade that President Mubarak had ruled since Sadat was assassinated by religious extremists during a military parade.

The report documents how political detainees--often alleged members or sympathizers of Islamist organizations--have been tortured at the State Security Intelligence headquarters in Lazoghly Square in central Cairo, in another Cairo SSI branch in Dokki, and in other locations from coastal Alexandria to the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut.

"Political detainees have been blindfolded, stripped of their clothes and suspended from their wrists, bound and handcuffed together, sometimes in contorted positions, from the tops of doors or from barred windows," the report says. "Victims have described how they have been forced to lie on their backs, their hands and feet bound together, a chair forced up their armpits, another keeping their knees apart to restrict the body's involuntary spasms as electric shocks were applied repeatedly to their nipples and genitals . . . Some have been sexually abused.”

* In December 1991, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights launched a yearlong campaign to stop torture, which, according to the group, continued under Egyptian security and police forces despite its prohibition by Egyptian law and the Constitution.

In the preceding two years, EOHR had issued three reports on torture in Egypt, and another 13 brief reports and appeals centered on specific cases.

A report released by EOHR in January of last year focused on rape and sexual abuse, as well as the application of electric shocks, as methods of torture. In one case, a woman being held by police in Zagazig in Sharkyia Governorate to testify against an alleged car thief was beaten and sexually abused by an officer "by introducing an iron rod through her anus," the report said. This and similar cases in the report were dismissed by the government as fabrications.

* In July 1992, Middle East Watch, a division of the international group Human Rights Watch, published its report on torture and detention in Egypt, "Behind Closed Doors." Although the study focuses on the SSI, it notes that "a subculture of violence has pervaded ordinary police work." It provides several hundred pages of grisly reading.

The report contends that numerous accounts of torture from residents, many of them suspected Islamic extremists, in cities and towns throughout Egypt between 1989 and early 1992 reveal a "pattern of abuse, not isolated cases of aberrant behavior.”

Old Middle East hands generally respond that the human rights situation in Egypt is far better than that in such Arab countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sudan. And it's arguably better than in Israel and the occupied territories, where abuses are systematically applied to one segment of the population.

It's also true that one reason that Egypt has been getting such bad publicity is that, unlike some other offending Arab states, it permits non- governmental human rights organizations to operate in the country.

But the growing number of extremist bombings and attacks against police, officials, Coptic Christians, tourists and others is driving the government to increasingly extreme countermeasures. In just one week in May, some 700 people were arrested in connection with fundamentalist violence.

Instead of quelling the Islamists, such mass arrests, especially if followed by torture and mistreatment at the hands of the police, could have the opposite effect. They could play to extremists who already revel in martyrdom and feed the anti-government resentment of pious, ordinary citizens caught in the dragnets, as well as their families and friends.

Police, not much trusted by average Egyptians in the best of times, are now widely considered the enemy. "People don't feel that the police are their protectors," said columnist Hassan Ragab. "They are more like an occupation army.

In the meantime, government paranoia, which seems to be the motivating force behind the increase in human rights violations, has plenty to feed on.

Interior Minister Hassan Al-Alfi announced in early June that a guerrilla plot to assassinate a number of senior officials and public figures, as well as to plant explosives in public squares and on railway lines, had been foiled. Thirty suspected terrorists had been arrested in the plot, allegedly designed to destabilize Egypt.

Al-Alfi linked the plan with Egyptian Islamic militants living abroad, including the blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, who in turn has been associated with some suspects in last February's bombing of the New York World Trade Center, and who is a frequent critic of the Mubarak regime.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Napoli, James J
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Demographics: Maternal Health, Family Planning Unqualified Success in Tunisia

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 55.


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Demographics: Maternal Health, Family Planning Unqualified Success in Tunisia
A visit to the office of Dr. Mohamed Moncef Boukhris, director general of Tunisia's National Office of Family and Population, known as ONFP from its initials in French, is an optimist's delight. Like Tunisia itself, ONFP is a place where the best-laid plans actually come true.

The statistics alone are worth the visit. They are unique in Africa and the Arab world as well. When Tunisia became independent from France in 1956, its infant mortality rate was 4 percent. Now it is 2.5 percent. In the same period, its overall death rate has been reduced by 80 percent.

Does that mean Tunisia's population is soaring out of control? Not at all. In 1956, the country's fertility rate was 7 children per woman. Now it is 3.4 children per woman, and the Tunisian government is aiming to stabilize the fertility rate at 2 children per woman by the year 2026. The result of these changes is that while the population was growing at the rate of 3 percent per year in 1956, at present it is growing at the rate of only 1.9 percent annually, and that growth rate is falling steadily. Getting control of the population growth rate means not only remarkable improvements in the education and health care available to all Tunisians, but also perceptible improvements in Tunisia's standard of living and the economy as a whole.

A major factor in all of these statistics from Tunisia's first 37 years of independence is the spread of family planning from urban centers to the most remote Tunisian villages. At present, 52 percent of married women in Tunisia practice some form of family planning, compared to fewer than 20 percent at the time of independence. The government hopes to increase the number of married women practicing family planning to 60 percent by the end of 1993.

In the Arab world, only Morocco, Algeria and Egypt even approach these figures, according to Dr. Boukhris. He cites two reasons for Tunisia's success. One is that the government lets the private sector do part of the job, subsidizing the contraceptives made available to their patients by private physicians and clinics. The other is the Tunisian government's determination to take its programs to the remotest corners of the country.

"Our problem is the difference between urban and rural areas," says Dr. Boukhris. "But we are going into all regions on instructions from President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to reach the sectors of the population that most need our services.”

The ONFP has set up 48 model clinics in various parts of the country and has 10 mobile clinics from which a midwife can not only advise and counsel village women, but also actually insert an interuterine device (IUD), the most widely used contraceptive technique, if so requested. The result, Dr. Boukhris says, is that in some remote areas the villagers joke that the only government officials they ever meet personally are police and family planning personnel.

Free Government Services
All government family planning services are available to Tunisians free of charge. Tunisia is one of the few Islamic countries where women do not need permission from their husbands to avail themselves of such services. Tunisia also is the only Arab country that permits abortion on demand by a woman without reference to her husband or other member of her family.

In practice, abortion is extremely common throughout the Arab world, even where it is not legal except in cases where the life of the mother depends upon it. Sadly, in countries where family planning services are not so widely available as in Tunisia, abortion sometimes becomes a principal means of contraception, at great cost to the health of the women concerned.

Even the most conservative Muslims in Tunisia, therefore, are supportive of the Tunisian government's family planning programs, which they recognize as a major benefit to maternal and child health. Their reservations, Dr. Boukhris says, center largely upon such irreversible contraceptive measures as tubal ligation, rather than the reversible measures in widespread use which enable couples to space children rather than permanently terminate fertility.

The fact that Tunisian programs have produced such an unqualified success story, Dr. Boukhris says, is due to enlightened legislation and hard work by the government on many social, educational and political fronts. From the time their country became independent, Tunisians recognized that their natural resources were limited and that the country must make the best possible use of its human resources. Education now is compulsory to the age of 16.

Tunisia traditionally has been open to debate and the clash of differing ideas, and was the first Arab country to codify completely equal rights for women and put them into practice. "Fortunately, we had political thinkers and leaders who emphasized improving the welfare of women," Dr. Boukhris explains. "Now we have made those advances irreversible.”

Even the rise of more conservative thinking elsewhere in the Islamic world has not engendered local opposition to Tunisia's government programs. "Fundamentalists say that our religion permits family planning, but they question whether our economy requires it," Dr. Boukhris explains. However, ONFP clinics in some of the most conservative areas of the country are widely used.

"Conservative women come in great numbers to our clinics, and since all people in Tunisia consider our programs health programs for women, they do not oppose them," he says.

Dr. Boukhris lists a number of other factors that have been essential to the success of Tunisia's family and population program:

"First, we had the political will and a very clear strategy based upon passage of legislation regarding women, health and family measures, including the use of contraceptives.

"Second, we could have done nothing without successful educational programs for girls. More than 87 percent of our girls presently are attending school, and now we are seeing the results.

"Third is the establishment of respect for the rights of women, and establishment of organized and visible programs in family planning that reach vertically through all levels of society and horizontally to all regions. We also concluded that just modernizing and improving general health systems is insufficient. We have chosen to give a high priority to family planning within that system.

"Finally, an extremely important element is the strong political support given to our programs by the Tunisian government. We expect all members of the government to utilize all methods of communication to explain that family planning is a right and that it contributes immeasurably to raising national standards of health and prosperity.”

Another factor that Dr. Boukhris is perhaps too modest to mention is the importance of enlightened direction by qualified government officials who believe in and practice what they preach. Dr. Boukhris, a gynecologist who has written a book in French entitled La Population en Tunisie: Rιalitιs et Perspectives, and a study in English entitled Family Health and Population Policy in Tunisia, obviously is qualified.

On the personal level, Dr. Boukhris, who has held his present position for three years, also practices what he preaches. He is married and he and his wife have two children.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Dr. Mohamed Moncef Boukhris)


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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Canada Calling: Resolution by United Church Angers Jewish Groups

Dirlik, John. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 56.


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Canada Calling: Resolution by United Church Angers Jewish Groups
A United Church of Canada resolution criticizing Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied territories and calling upon the United Nations to take measures to protect the Palestinian inhabitants has been described as "unfair" and "unbalanced" by Jewish groups across the country.

The strongly worded resolution was passed May 30 by more than 600 delegates gathered in Toronto for the United Church of Canada's annual meeting. The resolution asked the Canadian government to call on Israel to respect the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the resolution condemned Israel's expulsion "without trial of over 400 men in December 1992" and "the shooting deaths of over 1,000 people, many of them children," by Israeli forces since the December 1987 start of the intifada. The resolution also called on Canada to press the United Nations to send peacekeeping troops to protect the inhabitants of Israeli-occupied territories if Israel "continues to violate the Convention.”

"It's more important to speak out about the death of children.”

Paul Marcus of B'nai B'rith of Canada expressed disappointment over the passing of the resolution, saying it was "most unfortunate that Israel was singled out." The national director of the Canada-Israel Committee said the Israeli military government in the occupied territories "is geared toward preventing human rights excesses" and that allegations of abuses are promptly investigated. A spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress called the resolution "unfair" because it ignored acts of violence committed by Palestinians against their own people.

The United Church resolution was adopted only after considerable debate. Several delegates voted against the move, arguing it may damage Christian- Jewish relations. Supporters of the resolution, however, insisted that it was a matter of moral priorities. "It's more important to speak out about the death of children than to be concerned about the comfort level of interfaith discussions in Toronto," said Rev. Elizabeth Marmura.

Pro-Israel Editor Criticizes Montreal Daily's Mideast Coverage
Montreal Jews have more reason to fear their daily newspaper's coverage of Israel than they do neo-Nazi skinheads who vandalized their synagogues, said the editor of a rabidly pro-Israel weekly published in the west-end of the city.

Following the uproar over a spate of synagogue desecrations in the Montreal area, an editorial in the Suburban chastised mainstream Jewish organizations for focusing their criticism on the skinheads believed responsible for the vandalism while ignoring the threat of the Montreal Gazette's "persistent anti-Israel" stance.

In the first of two successive editorials, the Suburban charged that the Gazette's alleged bias against Israel was a "direct cause" of increased anti- Semitism in the city. "When the Canadian Jewish Congress addresses the causes of anti-Semitism (such as the Gazette coverage), it will have less anti- Semitism to deal with," the Suburban editorial claimed. It called the Gazette, Montreal's only English-language daily, "a far more vicious and menacing enemy" than a "group of local imbeciles . . . spray-painting swastikas and Nazi slogans.”

In a rare public disagreement between avid supporters of Israel, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) responded in a letter to the editor flatly rejecting any relation between the Gazette's coverage of Israel and the rise of anti-Semitic incidents in Montreal. CJC regional director Michael Crelinstein wrote that making such a link "is unjustified and inflammatory," and accused the Suburban of being in "serious and grave error." Describing the editorials as "demagogic," Crelinstein wrote that "whatever political problems we have with the Gazette in terms of its Israel coverage--and we have them--it is a far cry from labeling them, by extension, anti-Semitic.”

Another representative of the Canadian Jewish Congress defended the Gazette, saying that its coverage of the Middle East was fair in comparison with other newspapers. "I see five or six newspapers daily," said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, "and the Gazette's editorial policy has improved dramatically over the last five or six years.”

The charge by the Suburban that the Gazette favored the Arabs was dismissed as absurd by at least one representative of the city's Arab community. "There have been several representations made to the Gazette by Arab groups to complain about its anti-Arab bias," said Raymond Kneider, publisher of the Montreal-based Arab World Review. "To accuse that paper of being anti- Israel is incredible," said Kneider.

Peace Now Meeting Disrupted By Hecklers
A lecture in Toronto by the president of American Friends of Peace Now was disrupted when several members of the audience angrily denounced the policies of that organization, which favors Israeli territorial concessions in return for peace with the Arabs.

The presentation by Gail Pressberg was interrupted by one man who commandeered the microphone at the back of the room and hurled insults at Pressberg for "selling out" Israel. After being forcibly escorted out of the room, the heckler was allowed to return after the lecture was over. He then resumed his attacks, expressing outrage that an organization which opposed expelling Palestinian "terrorists" would eject a Jew from the room. "You're a whore to Yasser Arafat," he screamed.

To cheers of "Bravo! Bravo!" another angry man said the Peace Now organization should change its name to "Surrender Now." Yet another person asked Pressberg whether she thought that Arabs had "the democratic right to vote Israel out of existence.”

After the shouting matches that erupted among the politically divided crowd finally died down, the president of the Canadian Friends of Peace Now apologized to Pressberg for the behavior of the audience. "Canadians are not always so rude," said Mel Shipman.

RECYCLE!
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Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Dirlik, John
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Personality: Attorney Lynda Brayer; An "Out-Insider" in Israel's Legal System

McMahon, Janet. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 57.


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Personality: Attorney Lynda Brayer; An "Out-Insider" in Israel's Legal System
To meet Israeli lawyer Lynda Brayer is to encounter a whirlwind of energy and vitality that few individuals would choose to oppose. Accordingly, this determined attorney has chosen as her opponent the arbitrary and capricious misuse of authority made possible by the "emergency laws" with which Israel rules the Palestinian inhabitants of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

At its 1993 convention, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) presented Brayer its Human Rights Award for her work with the Society of St. Yves, a non-profit legal resource center under the auspices of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. As president of the society, Brayer, who converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1988, challenges abuses of Palestinian human rights that occur under the patchwork legal system administered by the Israeli authorities in the occupied territories. Specifically, she utilizes international law's concept of "belligerent occupation" to challenge the legitimacy of what she terms the "Mad Hatter's teaparty" of Israeli occupation rule.

Belligerent Occupation
The laws of war governing belligerent occupation are the Hague Regulations of 1907 and protection of civilians provided by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. These laws are not treaties between two warring parties, but express customary law and, as such, are "absolutely binding" upon all signatory nations, Brayer explains.

Important principles characterizing belligerent occupation, Brayer continues, are that it is de facto--"the actual taking and establishing of control of a sovereign territory or a part of a territory by an invading army"; it is temporary; annexation of the territory is illegal; and the occupier acquires neither sovereignty nor legal rights by virtue of its occupation.

The question of sovereignty is a crucial one, according to Brayer, for only a sovereign power can issue emergency laws. However, "Israel has chosen to define `sovereign' as meaning `the government' of a state," she asserts. "This is not the acceptable or normal meaning of this term. By definition the sovereignty of any territory lies in the native and indigenous population of a territory. A belligerent occupier sets aside temporarily the rule of the legitimate sovereign, but it cannot take away the inherent sovereignty of the people.”

Since Israel is not the legitimate sovereign in the occupied territories, it cannot declare a state of emergency or issue emergency regulations, Brayer maintains. "An invading army is the cause of a national emergency, not the victim," she notes caustically. "A local government issues emergency regulations for the protection of its own population. An occupier cannot implement the same regulations and use them as punitive measures against the local population whom they were meant to protect.”

"Law must presume the possibility of argument.”

And things do get "curiouser and curiouser" in the case of Israel, which considers itself an "administrative occupier"--a definition which "does not exist in international law," Brayer contends. "This is translated to mean that there is a belligerent occupancy but Israel is not a belligerent occupier. Thus Israel is both subject to, and not subject to, the laws of belligerent occupation.”

This schizophrenia extends to the legal system imposed by Israel on the occupied territories. Brayer is passionate in her insistence that law is based on the principles of Aristotelian logic, and therefore "must presume the possibility of argument." She likens the basis of the system used in the occupied territories to "twisted Talmudic thinking," whereby "one cannot predict what factors will change" in determining the applicability of the law to a given case.

Anyone, however, can predict the outcome of cases involving Palestinians, Brayer maintains. Such cases have a "99 percent failure rate" in Israel's courts. Despite the odds, Brayer persists in her efforts on behalf of Palestinians and their institutions, challenging such Israeli actions in the occupied territories as land confiscations, settlement building, the imposition of 24-hour curfews, and unequal water allocation--"A Jew get 6 gallons a day, a Palestinian 2.5 gallons.”

One success, argued by Brayer herself, resulted in an order by the High Court that the gas masks being distributed to Jews be made available to Palestinians as well prior to and during the Gulf war. Not surprisingly, Israeli authorities were able to circumvent the ruling through bureaucratic measures, so the victory remained a theoretical one. Fortunately, none of the Scud missiles fired by Iraq into Israel had chemical warheads.

Another issue about which this mother of three feels particularly adamant is the enforced separation of Palestinian families, either through the denial of residence permits to spouses of Palestinian Arabs, or the expulsion of Palestinian Muslims as occurred in December 1992, and many times previously. Brayer considers this policy a breach of the religious commandment, shared by Islam and Judaism, to "go forth and multiply," and of the importance both faiths place on marriage and the family. Only a government which views Palestinians as "not full human beings" could so betray its principles, Brayer maintains. Not surprisingly, she has been actively fighting in court Israel's expulsions of Palestinians from the occupied territories.

Lynda Brayer would agree that her commitment to justice for Palestinians is not the expected outcome of her upbringing. Her grandmother was born in Palestine in 1900 and, in 1922, emigrated to South Africa, then also part of the British Empire. Brayer was born in Johannesburg in 1945. The future attorney, who describes herself as "a total academic failure until late in life," moved to Israel in 1969 and subsequently received a B.A. in English literature and art history cum laude from Hebrew University.

When she then progressed to the study of law, however, she quickly discovered that, much as she had come to enjoy academic life, she "hated" the laws about which she was learning for the first time. By the third week of her constitutional law class, Brayer says, she "realized exactly the kind of law they must have had in Germany in 1935. My work, "she adds, "has proved exactly how right I was.”

Brayer's conversion to Catholicism, which she calls her "religious experience," started in the mid-'80s. Interested in Christianity since she was a child, Brayer studied the religion at Hebrew University and "went to church once or twice," before she began reading independently. (A self-described "voracious reader," she cites her interests as "religion, philosophy, theology, spiritual writers and intellectual and general history.") At the Jesuit chapel she attended, she found that "the iconography of Mass is all Jewish," and hence was familiar. She describes Christianity's "huge concern for others, embracing all Palestinians" as one of its most important appeals for her. Indeed, the motto of the Society of St. Yves is "I am my brother's keeper.”

While her religious conversion brought her closer to Palestinians, Brayer says, she continued to be bothered "by the idea of Israel being a totalitarian state." She cites the centralized economy, where "the government budget is a huge percentage of the GNP," as an example. The burden on the individual citizen is not so obvious, she says, "but if you put one foot wrong," the tyranny of discretionary power reveals itself.

The political and personal evolution that turned Brayer into, in her words, "an out-insider in Israel and an in-outsider with Palestinians," took place over a number of years. When she first came to Israel, she says, "I believed Zionist propaganda. My God, I'm ashamed." By now, however, she has concluded that Zionism is "the ultimate apostasy" because, as Israelis, "we have made ourselves the ultimate good.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Lynda Brayer)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author McMahon, Janet
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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On Capitol Hill: Is Your Congressional Representative Listening?


Lorenz, Andrea W. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 60.


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On Capitol Hill: Is Your Congressional Representative Listening?

Few things are more exhilarating than discussing an issue one cares about deeply with one's congressional representative. Yet many citizens concerned about Middle East issues assume that the letters they post to their representatives will never be read, and, if they happen to visit Washington, many are too shy to schedule meetings on Capitol Hill. On April 22, however, members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, many of whom had traveled from as far as California and Oregon, visited Congress to apprise their congressmembers and senators of their concerns.

The ADC members had made their appointments well ahead of time. After a morning briefing at which National Association of Arab Americans lobbyist Randa Fahmy advised them, "Don't underestimate the power of grassroots requests," they spread out to the offices of their individual representatives armed with briefing packets prepared by ADC. Among issues they discussed with their representatives were: more stringent oversight of aid to Israel; the need to support the "FBI First Amendment Protection Act of 1989," which would regulate the conduct of FBI investigators; the need for increased assistance to Lebanon; and investigation of Israel's arrest without charges or trial of American citizens Mohammed Salah, Anwar Hamdan, and Mohammad Jarad.

The writer accompanied Dr. Robert Ashmore, a professor of philosophy and ethics at Marquette University in Wisconsin, on his well-prepared visits to both Wisconsin senators. Prior to his appointments, Professor Ashmore, who is director of Marquette's Center for Ethics Studies, had written to Senators Herbert Kohl and Russ Feingold introducing himself and explaining that he was recently elected an alderman (city council member) in his community of Mequon, Wisconsin. He also described his involvement in a local Arab-Jewish dialogue group and enclosed an editorial entitled "Local Arabs and Jews Set Fine Example," which appeared in the Milwaukee Journal. The editorial quotes Professor Ashmore describing how Arab-American and Milwaukee Jewish Council leaders, after meeting for the past two years behind closed doors to discuss "the issues that divide us," recently had hammered out a mutually agreed-upon public position statement incorporating the principles of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

Accompanying Professor Ashmore was Israeli human rights lawyer Lynda Brayer, who was in Washington to accept an ADC achievement award. She is executive legal director of the Society of Saint Yves, a Jerusalem-based organization committed to the defense of Palestinian human rights (see article on page 57). In the meetings, Dr. Ashmore and Ms. Brayer explained their concerns about the deteriorating conditions in the West Bank and Gaza. They asked Senator Kohl and Senator Feingold's aide (Feingold had been called away on urgent business) to press for a more balanced U.S. policy on human rights.

Some suggestions for conducting effective meetings with congressional representatives emerged from Dr. Ashmore's carefully prepared visits and the briefings conducted by ADC and NAAA personnel for all participants in ADC's 1993 "Congressional Contact Day":

* Whether you wish to visit your representatives in their home district offices or in Washington, DC, make your appointment well ahead of time.

* Send the member a brief letter indicating your specific concerns and including information on your community activities.

* Reconfirm your appointment a day or two ahead of time.

* It is easier to get an appointment for a group than for an individual, but groups can be as small as three to five people. For groups larger than three, it is advisable to appoint a spokesperson to present the group's concerns.

* Learn what committees your representative sits on and what issues he or she cares about. Often you can link your own concerns to issues in which your representative takes an active interest.

* Bring notes of the points you wish to cover.

* If your representative is called away, you may meet with a staff aide instead. Don't underestimate the aide's access to the member.

* Present your concerns succinctly and provide specific documentation.

* Maintain a gracious manner. As NAAA's handbook, How to Make a Difference With Your Senators and Congressman, advises, "The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is perhaps the most effective of all political skills.”

* If you are a member of a group or association and your concerns are shared by other members, make that clear.

* In initiating a dialogue, give your representative a chance to explain his or her point of view. You might also ask his or her source for information on the issues you are discussing. If you can recommend other sources, offer to send your representative sample copies.

* Make a specific request. For example, you may ask your representative or senators to vote yes or no on a bill pending in Congress, to sponsor a sign- on letter, or to initiate a "Sense of Congress" resolution. (For sample sign-on letters or "Sense of Congress" resolutions, contact Randa Fahmy at (202) 842- 1840.)
* Always follow up your meeting with a hand-written note thanking your representative or the aide for taking time to meet with you.

* Don't forget that there are other ways to meet your representative. For example, you may invite him or her to a community picnic, bazaar, or a reception at your home. If the representative already is persuaded to your point of view, a fund-raiser at your home is appropriate. It should be a reward, however, not an attempt to outbid a special interest in hopes of using cash to change the legislator's mind. If your representative is "for rent," you probably should be looking for a challenger who isn't.

When it comes to letters, senators and congressmembers receive thousands each month on a myriad of issues. Every office employs a platoon of staffers to open mail, sort letters, and draft responses. Their job is to inform the congressmember of constituents' concerns. Effective letters, especially if they come from a significant number of individuals and address the same issue, may well persuade a congressmember to change his or her vote.

Below are suggestions on how to write an effective letter. The advice was provided by Senator George Mitchell's staff aide, Diane Dewhurst; Senator J. Bennett Johnston's staff aide, Michael Babbin; Congressman Michael Oxley's administrative assistant, Jim Conzelman; and Congressman David Bonior's legislative assistant, Mark Koyanagi.

* Take the time to write a thoughtful, legible letter. Staffers said that they take more time with letters from individual constituents than they do with form letters or postcards with identical messages.

* Spell out your argument clearly and provide specific information. For example, if you oppose foreign aid without oversight to certain countries, specify the reasons for your opposition. If your letter is vague, your representative's response may not address your real concerns.

* Follow up your letter with a telephone call and make it clear that you keep informed on how your representative has voted on the issues that concern you. Make it clear, too, that you are monitoring whether your representative takes money from political action committees (PACs) involved in your issue, and whether that is a significant factor in how you you vote.

* View communication with your representative as a long-term commitment.

For more information on persuading your congressmember of your point of view, contact NAAA's lobbyist Randa Fahmy, tel. (202) 842-1840; the Council for the National Interest's Director of Research Laura Drake, tel. (202) 628-6962; or ADC's Director of Outreach Larry Ekin or Policy Analyst Joan Drake, tel. (202) 244-2990. Two helpful booklets from NAAA are A Citizen's Guide to Political Action and How to Make a Difference with Your Senators and Congressman.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Robert Ashmore and Lynda Brayer)


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Author Lorenz, Andrea W
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Christianity and the Middle East: New Videos of Palestinians Under Occupation

Walz, L Humphrey. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 61.


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Christianity and the Middle East: New Videos of Palestinians Under Occupation
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) has just released two videotapes on present-day Palestinian life on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The informal style of both--almost like that of skillfully produced home videos--allows intimacy, spontaneity and candor and contrasts refreshingly with TV network reporter interviews, "talking heads" overviews, and momentarily timely newsbites.

"Christian Families of Palestine," 34 minutes long, lets members of two Arab families speak for themselves and for all of the 120,000 indigenous Christians presently living under Israeli rule. The Arrankeh family has lived in Taibeh and the Musleh family in Beit Sahour throughout the centuries those Christian villages have kept records.

Both villages are steeped in New Testament lore. Taibeh tradition says that Jesus used to come there for respite from his demanding ministries in Jericho and Jerusalem. In Beit Sahour, adjacent to Bethlehem, the spot now pre- emptively posted "Military Command, Ministry of Religious Affairs . . . Field of the Shepherds" has long been pointed to by local Christians as the site where, at the birth of Jesus, angelic song proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace." In neither place today, however, is there much respite or peace. The camera records the villagers' undiluted faith and vibrant worship. Sadly, it also reveals circumstances that recall the Psalmist's question, echoed by the dying Jesus, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

"Christian Families of Palestine" shows what emigration is doing to village and family. Forty years ago, when the state of Israel was created, Taibeh had 4,000 people, Catholic and Christian Orthodox. Today it has perhaps a bare 1,000. Just since the filming, featured Ghassan Arrankeh's father and his two remaining siblings have emigrated. Whether or not one uses the loaded term "ethnic cleansing" for such departures, we are shown clearly their immediate cause: Jewish settlers have taken the high ground and are expanding down into the surrounding orchards, pastures and other farmland as fast as the Israeli government can expropriate acreage for new housing and for the roads serving Jewish settlements. The methods are vividly depicted for video audiences by Ghassan Arrankeh's memories of the decisive year 1988.

The entire citizenry in Beit Sahour is united in the face of provocations.

Settlers set fire to villagers' orchards, he recalls. Putting out the flames took long, concerted efforts by residents. The young men then organized to protect the trees against further depredations by their Jewish neighbors. When some settlers returned to continue the destruction, the Christian villagers threw stones. This led to Israeli military intervention, in the course of which Ghassan's son died with three Israeli fragmentation bullets in his body. When Ghassan, who remains adamant about his right to live in his village, started building a small house on family property, the military government (officially called the "Civil Administration"!) stopped construction. Three times they also subjected him to "administrative detention," meaning indefinite imprisonment without trial or presentation of evidence. The burdens this imposed on Ghassan's wife, children and grandchildren were predictable. Still, to assert the right of Palestinians to their native soil, members of four generations of their family stay on, refusing to join the exodus.

In Beit Sahour, another largely Christian village, the entire citizenry is united in the face of provocations by the military government. Tired of being taxed by Israel for governmental services it never receives, the entire populace--Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran--decided to withhold further payment of taxes pending delivery of services. The Israeli military promptly cracked down, seizing the furniture and appliances from rebellious homes. (The video does not mention the commandeering of goods off shop shelves or of equipment from workplaces, which has been covered by U.S. network television. Nor does the video allude to the auctioning off of all expropriated items at Ben-Gurion Airport.)
As an example to community leaders, high school principal Michel Musleh was "administratively detained" and has been deprived not only of his job, but also his accumulated retirement benefits. His wife is barred from teaching or other educational employment. The family business has gone with the wind. Still, the Muslehs and the people of Beit Sahour hang on and, in keeping with their Christian faith, refuse to hate their Israeli tormentors. Asked if she'd be willing to live on neighborly terms with foreign Jewish settlers, should a basis of legal equality be developed, Mrs. Musleh gives a thoughtfully weighed affirmative answer. (The home-video style, in this instance and throughout, gives an authenticity of character and feelings far more convincing than professional interviewers or a docudrama would be likely to convey.)
"Disabled for Palestine" offers 21 minutes of even stronger medicine. Sponsored by the MECC's Regional Health Committee, it is concerned over the West Bank's growing medical needs--many intifada-related--and deteriorating medical services under Israeli "iron fist" occupation policies. TV footage shows free-firing teenaged Israeli troops pursuing even younger Palestinian stone throwers. Also shown are surgically extracted Israeli bullets--high velocity bullets, fragmentation bullets, tissue-destroying dumdum bullets and thinly coated metal bullets often referred to as "rubber" or "plastic" bullets.

These fortify the video's pleas "that the cure for the crisis in medical services there lies in ending the occupation." They also reinforce its appeal for wider humanitarian responses by Arab society to the circumstances of the conflict's victims. The film's most compelling impact, however, comes from its quiet, intimate conversations with some of the casualties in their homes, the hospital or the limited rehabilitation centers available.

Softspoken Palestinian neurosurgeon Dr. Nasry Khoury has had many of the occupation's victims under his care from the time they were incapacitated. In his company, we see their conditions, hear their accounts of how they were hurt, and learn how the resultant handicaps have changed not only their own shattered lives, but those of their families.

Some of the most severely maimed, and also the most accepting of their conditions, are those uninvolved bystanders who inadvertently became targets for Israeli instant collective punishment. A small boy whose shaven head reveals entry and exit bullet holes was tending his goats on a rocky hillside when somebody threw stones at an Israeli army patrol. The soldiers saw the boy. They shot him. A now-paralyzed young matron was sitting beside her husband in their family automobile when they were stopped at a military checkpoint. When someone began stone-throwing, her husband started to turn back. The soldiers fired at their car and one bullet damaged her spinal cord. A man who now trembles at the sight of an army uniform cannot remember how he came to be shot in the face.

Not a single West Bank family has escaped death or injury.

With equal cogency, the plights of those Palestinians wounded in deliberate, unarmed struggle against the occupation--or shot at while trying to rescue its victims--argue for urgent outside intervention to stop the horror. So does the flesh-and-blood reality the interviews give to such statistics as that for every one of the 1,300 Palestinians--mostly young folk--killed between December 1987 and mid-1993 by the Israeli military occupiers, an astonishing 125 have been injured. By this time, not a single West Bank family has escaped death or injury.

As the cassette's narration summarizes: "Their stories are a window on the long-term human and medical costs of occupation. It becomes clear that their health and their futures depend ultimately on peace." To conscientious American viewers--especially those who have, since March 31, followed the devastating impact of "closure" on the occupied territories--the videotape clarifies the catastrophic effects on its victims of Israel's American-taxpayer-supported "iron fist" policy.

It is reassuring to know from other sources that Orthodox Jewish members of the Neturei Karta community in Jerusalem are among Beit Sahour's boldest supporters. Similarly, most of the American and Israeli Jews who write regularly for the Washington Report, or who participate in other Middle East peace activities, have adopted their positions after first-hand observation of what is actually happening to Muslim and Christian Palestinians under occupation. For those unable to see these realities at first-hand, the possible positive results of viewing either or both of these video productions should not be underestimated.

"Christian Families of Palestine" may be purchased for $23.50, postpaid, from Ecufilm, 810 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203, (800) 251-4091. "Disabled for Palestine" is available at the same price through the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee, 4201 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20008, (202) 244-2990.

On Palestinian and Israeli Sorrows, Suffering and Hostility
Quaker pastoral counselor Gene Knudsen-Hoffman heartily agrees with Longfellow's conviction that, "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." She kept this wisdom especially in mind when, in 1980, her work first took her back and forth across the Green Line between Israel and the occupied territories. It helped her see the Palestinians and Israelis as "two traumatized peoples who have both suffered and committed acts of violence against each other.”

Later that year she came to know--and gain helpful insights from--Dutch psychiatrist Jan Bastianns, whose therapeutic work with Holocaust survivors had led to his pioneering studies on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That complex of behavior patterns includes, in its most readily observable form, the abused child who grows up to be an abusive spouse or a child-beater or possibly even an impulsive killer. Its most terrifying manifestation is by "national leaders intent on war" to express revenge feelings stemming from "very old personal wounds.”

Beneath these and its other outward behavioral symptoms, she sees great pertinence in the writings of Dr. Eliezer Yitztum, senior psychiatrist at Ezrat Nashim Hospital, Jerusalem, author of The History of PTSD and the Israeli Army. "There is a direct connection," he believes, "between the Holocaust and much of the tragic behavior against the Palestinians.”

She finds further supportive insight from American Rabbi-psychologist Yonassan Gershom: "On a conscious level, the Israelis are not purposely punishing the Palestinians for the Holocaust," he wrote in the Washington Report of February 1992. "The very suggestion is horrifying to most Jews: `Didn't we collectively say "never again" would such a thing happen?'
"True. But it is also true that people who have been abused will, when they come to power, abuse others because they do not have healthy models for exercising power . . . The abuse cycle is not logical. It is a set of totally irrational behaviors based on fear, shame, guilt and anger . . . . Unless there is some way to break the cycle, when the Palestinians do get a state, they are just as likely to abuse whatever minorities dwell within their borders because a whole generation of Palestinian children have grown up knowing only the humiliation of military occupation where war and violence seemed normal.”

Dr. Knudsen-Hoffman's views were summarized at length in the March Fellowship magazine, available for $1.50 from the U.S. office of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, P.O. Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960.

Middle East Christian Churches, Then and Now
On the invitation of the Middle East Institute and the Smithsonian's Resident Associate Program, national capital audiences heard American and Middle Eastern authorities present eight weekly lectures on the history and theologies of the ancient churches still lively in the geographical cradle of Christianity. Symbolizing both heritage and present vitality, refreshments after the June 9 concluding session consisted of foods traditional to the six global communions dating back to Middle Eastern antiquity. Though "often isolated, sometimes persecuted, occasionally exploited and almost always forgotten" by their Western brethren and sisters, the MEI reminded its constituents, 12 million Christian church members remain in the Middle East.

The series provided overviews of pertinent history, theologies, beliefs, practices, liturgies, languages, geography, ethnicities, art and archictecture. It opened with a study of the Syrian Church of Antioch where "the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11:26). It closed with consideration of almost 17 centuries of unique Armenian intertwining of church and nationality. In between, it dealt with the efforts of the Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon to solidify unity in Christ, the Maronite bridge between East and West, the Arab Greek Orthodox, the Melkites, Assyrians, Chaldaeans, West Syrians and Copts. All eight lecturers focused on the centrality of the nature of Jesus Christ, variously perceived, in all of these traditions.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Walz, L Humphrey
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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California Chronicle: U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce Marks 20th Anniversary

Twair, Pat; Twair, Samir. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 62.


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California Chronicle: U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce Marks 20th Anniversary
More than 150 executives of California corporations joined with their Arab counterparts May 21 in the Los Angeles Hilton and Towers to mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (Pacific) Inc. Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was honorary chairman of the banquet, billed as one of the major events of Southern California's "World Trade Week '93.”

Guest of honor was Dr. Abdullah I. El-Kuwaiz, Gulf Cooperation Council associate secretary-general for economic affairs in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Awards to past presidents were presented by D. Joseph Asfour, executive director of the chamber, which serves 13 western states from Seattle to Santa Fe. Banquet chairman was Terrance C. Farley, who is president of Bechtel Corp. and president of the San Francisco-based chamber.

Speaking on behalf of the American business community, executive vice president R. Thomas Decker of the Bank of America in Los Angeles announced the Bank of America has obtained a license to operate in Dubai and is exploring foreign investment in real estate in the region.

Keynote speaker Dr. Yusuf Nimatallah, assistant secretary-general for economic affairs of the League of Arab States in Cairo, Egypt, addressed "The Middle East within the New World Order." Positive change within the Middle East after the demise of the Cold War can start, he stressed, with recognition that all countries and regions are interdependent.

Secondly, Dr. Nimatallah called for military coordination between NATO forces and United Nations troops to enforce peace in areas suffering from wars and political conflicts, such as the Middle East.

A third step is economic reform, including reform in the United States, which suffers from tremendous fiscal deficits and unemployment. He warned, however, that reducing structural fiscal deficits by levying heavy new taxes on imported oil could have negative repercussions on both importers and exporters of oil.

"Making oil energy more expensive can lead to cost-push inflation and unemployment, the two problems the world needs to fight most," he said. "Arab oil-exporting countries have supplied oil steadily at reasonable prices, but are deeply disappointed by rumors that America and the European Community are planning to charge high energy taxes.

"In 1991, all oil-exporting countries made about $70 billion from petroleum exports," he said, "while European countries made approximately $222 billion from taxes imposed on oil.”

Dr. Nimatallah said all nations will benefit from peace in the Middle East, particularly the U.S., which needs the large markets of the region. He pointed out that the U.S. no longer can afford to shower billions of dollars a year on Israel, and Arab nations would prefer to use their funds to develop their economies rather than to buy armaments. He called on American business executives to make group visits and attend trade exhibitions to witness reforms taking place in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan and Syria.

A history of the chamber and presentation of corporate awards were offered by J. Stanley Patterson, chairman and CEO of the chamber.

MPAC Honors Spike Lee
Each year the Muslim Public Affairs Council presents an award to artists who portray a positive image of Islam in the entertainment media. And so, on May 19, which would have been the 68th birthday of civil rights leader Malcolm X (Al-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz), MPAC presented its 1993 Entertainment Award to producer and director Spike Lee.

MPAC selected Lee for his film "Malcolm X," which has caused a resurgence of interest and awareness of the slain leader and portrays a positive image of Islam. Awards also were presented to actor Ernest Thomas and co-producers of "Malcolm X" Marvin Worth, Monty Ross and Fernando Saluchin. Master of ceremonies was radio personality Casey Kasem.

At a press conference prior to the awards presentation, Lee stressed that in his depiction of Malcolm X he wanted to show how true Islam had turned Malcolm's life around. Lee expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government for permitting his Muslim film crews into Mecca during two consecutive pilgrimages. "There is no way," he quipped, "that I could have recreated a scene of one million people circling the Kaaba.

"Hopefully, this film and others in the future will change negative perceptions of Islam," he added. "It's interesting to observe the contrast between the editorial treatment of the `mad Muslim bombers' of the World Trade Center in New York and what happened in Waco. In Waco, they weren't referred to as `Christian cultists,' but just as nuts.”

May Ali, the daughter of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali, commented that she was born three years after Malcolm X's assassination and the film has helped her to understand the chronology of his life.

"Malcolm X took a tough stance against oppression, and thanks to this film, a whole new generation is aware of him," she said.

In addressing the audience, MPAC Director Salam Al-Marayati stated: "A Black man from Harlem, who was inspired by the Hon. Elijah Muhammed, has done more for Islam in America than any sheikh or mullah. Malcolm X didn't entangle himself in religious trivia and he spoke to non-Muslims as well as to Muslims.”

Al-Marayati called for Muslims to rise above the divisive politics of the Muslim world. "While we are striving to liberate Bosnia and Palestine, we must rise above divisions," he continued. "While we celebrate the reunification of humanity at the Holy Kaaba, let us extend the lessons of hajj beyond the walls of the Kaaba.”

A $2,500 check for the United Negro College Fund was presented to Lee by William Hanna, president of Bank Audi in Los Angeles.

Representative McKeon Meets NAAA
In the second of a series of congressional brunches hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Arab Americans, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon met with nearly 40 of his Arab-American constituents May 15 in the North-ridge home of Ilham and Tony Amsih.

Rep. McKeon was elected to California's 25th congressional district last November and is president of the Republican freshman class of the 103rd Congress.

When asked if he supports U.S. intervention in Bosnia, Rep. McKeon said he would prefer for the U.S. to stay out of the civil war in the former Yugoslavia. "However, judging by the briefings I've had," he noted, "I would like to see the Muslims receive weapons so they could fight on more even ground.”

He advocates smaller government and smaller school districts, particularly the Los Angeles Unified School District, which serves 650,000 students. Stressing that more than 500,000 aliens illegally enter California annually, Rep. McKeon said his colleague, Rep. Carlos Moorhead, had pushed through legislation for more border patrols, but it was never funded. He said he hopes to bring 25 to 30 congresspersons to his district so they can better understand his region's problems.

In response to a query about unquestioned aid to Israel, Rep. McKeon said he grew up in an area with a heavy Jewish population and he tends to favor the Israeli side of things. He admitted he had accepted campaign donations coordinated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, but said he is open-minded and wants to do what is best for all his constituents. He said he will be taking a trip to Israel in August. His Arab-American hosts expressed the hope that he would take time to meet with Palestinians while there.

Representative Royce Denounces Slaughter in Bosnia
Freshman Congressman Ed Royce from California's 39th congressional district nearly knocked the socks off the two dozen or so members of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Arab Americans when he vehemently denounced the slaughter of the Bosnian people in the former Yugoslavia.

The session, held in the Whittier home of Florence Richards, was the third in a series of breakfast meetings with congressmen hosted by NAAA members.

Representative Royce, who served in the California Senate for 10 years before his election to Congress last November, said he authored a bill in the California Senate to lift the arms embargo against Bosnia and to send peacekeeping forces to inspect camps where Muslim Bosnians are held.

As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Royce said he, along with Rep. Frank McCloskey (D-IN), wrote letters to President Bill Clinton stating they would support him if he called for air strikes and lifting the arms embargo on Bosnia.

"The time has passed that we can stand by and watch ethnic cleansing," the Republican legislator stated, noting he twice met with Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

"How can this not be genocide?" he said he asked Christopher. "How can we stand by and say it's too complex to understand? When we see one side shelling the capital of a sovereign state, what is so difficult to figure out? What is so difficult to figure out when one side has both its arms tied because of a weapons embargo? Bosnia is a separate country with the right to defend itself.”

Representative Royce said the Bosnian situation is the most serious problem the foreign affairs committee is facing. "I'm ashamed to stand here and say the U.S. is not taking action," he concluded.

When asked what this action should be, he replied: "Silence the artillery and cut the Serbian supply lines.”

Touching upon domestic policies, Representative Royce said he was educated in finance and accounting and that he would call for more constraints on federal employment and agricultural subsidies.

"There are 218,000 employees in the Department of Agriculture," he said, "and they'd be doing more for the country if we sent them out to the fields to hoe weeds. We need to phase these people out and return to a market economy.”

As for foreign aid, Representative Royce would like to see it reduced. In the discussion with NAAA members, the Rev. Darrel Meyers told Representative Royce that, as a freshman congressman, he soon would receive the inevitable invitation to Israel. Reverend Meyers said he hoped Royce would ask to visit the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Spike Lee with Casey Kasem and Maher Hathout)


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Author Twair, Pat; Twair, Samir
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Jews and Israel

Richman, Sheldon. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 64.


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JEWS AND ISRAEL
Jewish Opposition to Lani Guinier
President Bill Clinton's decision to withdraw the nomination of Lani Guinier as assistant attorney general for civil rights was due in part to opposition by American Jewish organizations. In May the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League declined to endorse Guinier, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, because of her views on voting rights, quotas, and majority rule. The three groups refused to vote for a resolution supporting her by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

As head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, Guinier would have had responsibility for enforcing the Voting Rights Act. The point of contention is Guinier's views, which she has expressed in law review articles, suggesting that voting strength in legislatures should be weighted in some manner to assure that outcomes favorable to minorities occur in their proper proportion. Pointing out that the Voting Rights Act was intended to ensure Black voters "an equal opportunity to influence the outcome of legislative debate," she called for a "remedial mechanism [to] eliminate pure majority rule" and give minorities veto power within legislatures. She has also written that the Senate Judiciary Committee ought to set goals to increase the number of non-white judges on the federal bench.

The Jewish opposition to the Guinier nomination is seen as the latest breach in the Jewish-Black civil rights coalition. For years Jewish organizations with recognized civil rights credentials have opposed moves toward quotas. Jewish groups opposed the redistricting of Brooklyn in the 1970s, which splintered the Jewish community among other districts to increase Black representation.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other Black and women's groups actively promoted Guinier's nomination and harshly criticized Clinton for withdrawing her name. Guinier, whose mother is Jewish and whose father was Black, also had some Jewish support.

Explaining the American Jewish Congress position, director Marc Stern of the group's commission on law and social action said that Guinier "seeks to facilitate a politics clearly based along racial lines, purposefully designing an election system with campaigns based not on issues or common geographical lines but on race." In a statement to the Senate, the AJCongress called Guinier's views "wrong" and "inconsistent with both statutory and constitutional provisions the assistant attorney general for civil rights is charged with administering.”

In a clarification of the AJCongress's position before the withdrawal, however, Stern wrote in a letter to the liberal Jewish weekly Forward that his organization did not openly oppose Guinier. He said that the Congress's formal statement had "only raised questions about her views that it thought the Senate Committee on the Judiciary ought to be asking Ms. Guinier. The statement carefully avoided opposing Ms. Guinier's candidacy . . . The AJCongress was not urging the Senate or its Judiciary Committee to reject her nomination.”

Stern said the executive committee of the AJCongress had not met, as would be required before opposing a presidential nomination. He also said that a meeting with Guinier had been sought "in order to ascertain whether we understand her views correctly.”

Weeks before withdrawing the nomination, President Clinton had publicly defended his nominee but sought to assuage opposition by saying that she would carry out policy as determined by Congress and the attorney general. Her opponents were not persuaded. In a related matter, the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council met in May to discuss reapportionment in New York. The meeting did not produce a consensus, but NJCRAC Executive Vice Chairman Larry Rubin said that "while the Voting Rights Act has extended the right of franchise to virtually every American, many in the Jewish community are concerned that various redistricting plans developed under the act have created intergroup conflict.”

The Jewish press also weighed in with editorials critical of Guinier. The weekly Forward wrote that the Supreme Court decision upholding the redistricting of Brooklyn "set the stage for the Balkanization of our entire electorate, a process that will accelerate if Ms. Guinier is confirmed by the Judiciary Committee." It said that "according to [Guinier's] logic, a democratic system is one in which all ghettos are represented, no matter how small the ghettos might be." The editorial concluded, "What a tragic development it would be were the political party in which most Jews made their home in America to begin erecting political ghettos in the new land.”

Washington Jewish Week called Guinier's views indicative of a "totalitarian mindset [that] offends the sense of personal equality, liberty, and, yes, civic obligation which underlie American democracy." It said that the resulting "sectarian democracy . . . would resemble those which have led Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and a number of other societies into civil war." It also pointed out that proportional representation in Congress would "require two-thirds of the Jewish members to get out.”

No AJCommittee-AJCongress Merger
Unbridgeable differences over finances and governance have ruled out a merger of the American Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress, according to officials of both organizations. The announcement came after the cessation of six-month-old discussions about joining forces.

"Negotiations got down to the point where we saw that there were large, unbridgeable gaps," said AJCongress President Robert Lifton. Forward said that according to insiders, some leaders of the American Jewish Congress feared that their organization, which has a much smaller budget, would be swallowed by the AJCommittee, which is larger as well as more conservative than the AJCongress. The American Jewish Committee publishes Commentary magazine, which, unlike the Congress, takes a pro-Likud, hawkish line on Israel.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Richman, Sheldon
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Arab-American Activism

Willford, Catherine M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 65.


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ARAB-AMERICAN ACTIVISM
Ohio Arab Americans Successfully Oppose Israeli Bond Investment
A coalition of Ohio Arab Americans, including local chapter members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Arab American Political Caucus of Ohio (AAPCO), have succeeded in persuading the Ohio state legislature to rewrite State Bill 64 (S.B. 64). As originally written by Ohio Senate President Stanley J. Aronoff (R-Cincinnati) and passed by the state senate, S.B. 64 would have allowed the state treasurer's office to invest public funds in Israeli Development Corporation bonds. The bill, still pending in the Ohio House of Representatives at this writing, no longer contains any specific mention of Israel and limits to only one percent the amount of money from the state's inactive portfolio that may be invested in foreign bonds.

Seventy people attended a May 21 hearing before the Ohio House State Government Committee, with 19 testifying in opposition to the bill. Only two people testified in favor of the bill at a similar hearing on May 12. Commenting on the May 21 hearing, ADC President Albert Mokhiber said "the fact that Jewish Americans, Arab Americans, and Americans of European descent from Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo, Youngs-town and other parts of Ohio took time off from work and school to tell lawmakers in person that they did not want their tax dollars invested overseas should be a glaring signal to those invested with the public trust.”

According to a June 3 article in the Columbus Dispatch, Arab Americans "complained that Ohio taxpayers' money ought to be invested in Ohio to help the state economy, that Israeli bonds are risky investments and that by buying them Ohio could be perceived as supporting human rights violations in the Middle East.”

The Arab American Institute (AAI) and AAPCO commissioned a public opinion poll showing 71.9 percent of those registered voters polled were opposed to the Israeli bond legislation. In addition, 43.3 percent of those polled said they would be less likely to support the re-election of Governor George Voinovich if he signed the legislation into law.

Los Angeles Arab-American Experience Focus of Cornerstone Theater Production
Cornerstone Theater Company is collaborating with the Los Angeles-based Arab arts organization Al-Funun Al-Arabiya in a four-month residency project with Arab Americans of greater Los Angeles. The residency will culminate with the premiere of "Ghurba," a play which will explore and celebrate the Arab experience in Los Angeles. The production will be presented at UCLA Sept. 9-26 as part of the Los Angeles Festival.

Directed by Los Angeles writer-director Shishir Kurup, "Ghurba" will be performed in English and Arabic, and its text will blend classic and contemporary literature with oral histories drawn from interviews with members of the Arab community. The play will also examine perceptions and stereotypes, the role of women, and sustaining traditions and cultural identity.

"This community is unlike any our company has worked with before," Cornerstone Artistic Director Bill Rauch says. "The half-million Arabs in the L.A. area are highly dispersed yet share profound cultural ties. They're Muslims, Christians and Druze from North Africa to Saudi Arabia, and they occupy every strata of L.A. life.”

Auditions, open to all, with or without previous theatrical experience, will be held July 6-11 throughout the Los Angeles area. For more information, contact Cornerstone at 1653 18th Street, #6, Santa Monica, CA or call Leslie Tamaribuchi at (310) 449-1700.

Save Lebanon Observes 11th Anniversary
More than 400 people attended a May 26 banquet celebrating the 11th anniversary of Save Lebanon, Inc. at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, VA. Founded in 1982, Save Lebanon is a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to helping the children of Lebanon.

Two women deputies in the Lebanese parliament, Mrs. Nayla Moawad, a Maronite Christian, and Mrs. Bahiyya Al-Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, were honored at the banquet with humanitarian service awards presented by former Rep. Mary Rose Oakar and Save Lebanon Executive Director Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna.

Mrs. Moawad, wife of assassinated Lebanese President Rene Moawad, stressed the need to consolidate peace in Lebanon through the pursuit of new policies and to develop a strong central government to prevail over factional movements and sectarian tendencies. "Only a renewal of the state, and its modernization, will lead to a profound evolution, the results of which will be the institutionalization of peace and economic development," she said.

Mrs. Bahiyya Al-Hariri, sister of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri, spoke of the lessons learned through the years of civil war and called upon American Lebanese and the U.S. government to assist Lebanon to rebuild. She exhorted the audience to support the bid "to build a strong national state that is capable of maintaining law and order on Lebanese territory and for the re-emergence of Lebanon as an international center for political, economic and cultural relations.”

Fifth Annual Palestine Aid Society Walkathon
More than $30,000 was raised by the 5th Annual Palestine Aid Society (PAS) Walkathon held Saturday, June 5th in 16 cities throughout the United States and Canada. According to PAS, almost 1,000 people participated in this year's event, including more than 150 people in San Francisco and more than 100 in Chicago.

The annual walkathon raises funds for humanitarian organizations and projects in the occupied territories and Lebanon. Recipients this year include Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza and Association Najdeh in Lebanon.

Living Under Israeli Occupation
The toll of human rights violations by Israeli forces since Dec. 9, 1987:

Deaths 1,137
Injuries requiring hospitalization 121,246*
Expulsions 483
Administrative detentions 15,320+
Curfews (areas with 10,000+ population under 24-hour curfew) 11,151
(Plus almost constant curfews over entire West Bank and Gaza from
Jan. 16-Feb. 28, 1991)
Land confiscation (acres) 87,741
House demolitions/sealings 2,072
Tree uprootings 130,411
Source: Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Jerusalem/Washington, DC (202) 686-5116. Preliminary figures through Jan. 31, 1993.

* Estimated number
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Willford, Catherine M
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Human Rights

Lorenz, Andrea W. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 66.


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HUMAN RIGHTS
Amnesty International Calls Palestinian Children's Deaths Unjustifiable, Israel Responds
In a May 27 statement, Amnesty International expressed deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Gaza Strip. Amnesty is one of several human rights organizations worldwide to criticize Israel recently for the growing number of children killed by its security forces in the occupied territories. In its statement, Amnesty calls the killing of Palestinians, particularly children, who posed no threat to the Israeli soldiers who fired on them "absolutely unjustifiable.”

Israel's Government Press Office released a May 31 response to the Amnesty statement from the Israel Defense Force (IDF) saying that "accidents" happen because Palestinian children are in or near the scene of riots. The IDF, it states, "deeply regrets the presence of children at violent disturbances and the consequent casualties among them.”

In separate reports condemning Israel for human rights abuses, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both cite the ground-breaking work of an Israeli human rights organization, B'Tselem. Founded in 1989, B'Tselem has become a central source of information, both in Israel and internationally, on human rights abuses in the occupied territories. In a report issued this spring, B'Tselem reveals that the level of abuses committed in the occupied territories by the Israeli government during the first six months of the Rabin administration is significantly higher than during the last six months of the Shamir administration. This includes a 120 percent rise in the deaths of children under the age of 16.

In addition, B'Tselem says that 22 percent of the people killed by Israeli forces under the Rabin administration were children, compared with 10 percent of the total killed under Shamir. Since the beginning of the intifada, 221 Palestinian children under 16 years old have been killed. Of them, 65 were under age 12.

Even more damning is B'Tselem's conclusion that in 66 percent of the fatal shootings under Rabin, the lives of the soldiers responsible were not in danger-double the percentage under the Shamir administration.

In March, Yizhar Be'er, B'Tselem's director, told the Israeli magazine Challenge that one of the reasons for the deteriorating situation in the occupied territories is that Shamir's government felt it had to demonstrate to the outside world some tolerance and respect for human rights, while Rabin's government is more concerned with proving "that it is not soft on the issue of a Palestinian state." Be'er believes that the result is that the Rabin government excuses more IDF excesses than its predecessor. "There is a general atmosphere of lenience with regard to open-fire regulations, bolstered by statements from the prime minister," he said.

The Thorough Work of B'Tselem
B'Tselem has been praised for its thorough work, which includes sending field workers to the site of a killing and interviewing as many eyewitnesses as possible. The field worker makes a sketch of the place which includes the location of the victim, the army, and any witnesses. After examining the material, B'Tselem sends a letter, which includes eyewitness testimony, to the military and requests an investigation. "The problem is that it takes the army a very long time to give us an answer," Be'er said.

Describing B'Tselem as a "watchdog" organization, Be'er told Challenge, "Today, every soldier is aware that if he violates the law, a watchdog exists that can make a fuss and take him to court. In Gaza, several soldiers are now being tried as a result of testimony that our field workers collected.”

The Palestine Human Rights Information Center published the accompanying list of Palestinian children aged 16 or younger, killed by Israeli occupation forces in 1993.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Palestine Aid Society Walkathon in Washington, DC)


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Author Lorenz, Andrea W
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Islamic Movement in North Africa

Noakes, Greg. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 69.


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The Islamic Movement in North Africa
By Francois Burgat and William Dowell. University of Texas Press, 1993, 310 pp. List: $13.95; AET: $8.95 for one, $13.95 for two.

With the possible exception of the Nile Valley, no part of the Muslim world is the scene of as much Islamist activity as North Africa. Most of the Islamist movements in the Maghreb are committed to peaceful change, but some have opted for violence. Some are led by intelligent theoreticians who have articulated rational and responsible political platforms, while others appeal to blind emotion.

Some of the North African Islamists have been more politically successful than others, and all have had to deal with government repression and occasional state violence of one degree or another. The Maghreb provides the observer of Islamism with a near-perfect laboratory in which to analyze the Islamist movement's strengths and weaknesses, gauge its adaptation to political, social and economic change, and plot its likely future course.

A key reference work in that analytical laboratory is Francois Burgat's The Islamic Movement in North Africa, a revised and expanded version of his 1988 work L'islamisme au maghreb, translated by Time magazine's Cairo correspondent, William Dowell. One of the foremost French analysts of Islamism, Burgat is noted for his fair and insightful treatment of political Islam, and over the years has obtained privileged access to many of the movement's intellectual guiding lights. This book gives English speakers access to a whole different school of scholarship on the Middle East previously available almost exclusively through French-language sources.

It is an open question whether French social scientists understand Islam and Islamism any better than do their Anglo-American counterparts, but they do understand it differently. Through Burgat, the reader is exposed to the ideas and analyses of French academics like Jean-Claude Vatin, Jean Leca, Bruno Etienne, Gilles Kepel, and of course the author himself.

The text is divided into two halves. The first deals with issues of theory and practical application common to all Islamist movements, while the second half focuses on Islamist movements in Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. This second section presents a series of case studies to illustrate the theoretical analysis laid out in the opening chapters.

When addressing theoretical questions, Burgat includes writings of and interviews with influential Egyptian Islamists like Adel Hussein, Tareq Al- Bishri and Hassan Hanafi to complement the views of North African thinkers like Abdessalam Yassine, Rached Ghannounchi, Salaheddine Jourchi, Abbassi Madani and Mahfoud Nahnah. As is clear from the text, Egyptian Islamism's initial influence on Maghrebi thinkers was considerable, and the inclusion of Egyptian voices is a welcome addition to the presentation.

Burgat begins his look at issues facing the Islamist movement with the question of terminology. He attempts to clarify terms like "Islamism," "fundamentalism," "Salafism," "Khomeinism," etc., and from there move to a more objective use of terminology to describe the reintegration of religious ideas and language into national political life.

Next Burgat examines the Islamist movement's relationship to history, from the recent past of European colonialism and the more distant past of Islam's "Golden Age," to the time of the Prophet Muhammad and his Companions some 14 centuries ago. Burgat is concerned not only with how North African societies view their past, but how individual Islamist leaders perceive history and its impact on their movement.

Burgat goes on to analyze the rise of Islamism in terms of North and South, and places the movement in the unequal economic, cultural and demographic balance between the developed and the developing worlds. Many Islamists, including some of those Burgat interviewed for this section of the book, oppose viewing the Islamist movement in materialistic terms, arguing that it cannot be reduced to mere economics. They have a point, which Burgat concedes, but it is also true that political Islam cannot be explained simply in terms of increased piety and spirituality.

The book's treatment of Islamism and women is short but thought- provoking, touching on issues like hijab ("veiling"), the participation of women in the Islamist movement and Western perceptions of women and Islam. Burgat's discussion is adequate, but it is not one of the book's more impressive sections.

Much more enlightening is Burgat's look at Islamism's relationship to democracy, in which he forcefully argues that the issue still remains a theoretical one because of the regimes in power, not the Islamist movements themselves. The cancellation of elections by the Algerian military is the most obvious example, but it is not the only one, as Burgat demonstrates. Stressing the need for a more balanced view, he argues that Islamism "cannot simply be judged by a static, unique criterion, in which the rest of the political contestants are miraculously absolved from decades of authoritarianism to find themselves suddenly ipso facto carriers of the flame of individual liberties" just because they are not Islamists.

What is needed, in Burgat's opinion, is an acknowledgement of the continuum of Islamist opinion on democracy, from the hard-liners who do indeed argue that democracy is unbelief, to moderates who hold that a multiparty system is perfectly compatible with Islam. If the hard-liners are taken at their word (as they should be), why are the moderates summarily dismissed as guilty of double-speak designed to lull their critics and hide the "real" nature of their movement?

Burgat argues for a more nuanced view of Islamism and democracy, one which recognizes the pro-democracy elements as well as their more authoritarian counterparts. If the 1970s, Burgat says, "did produce the radical and literalist fringe that often serves today to obscure the true nature of the entire Islamist phenomenon, then the structural tendency of the Islamic movement in the decades to come will probably be aimed at escaping. . .these `literalist' bonds." Islamism's future, according to Burgat, lies with the democrats.

Turning to the individual countries of the Maghreb, Burgat examines the historical, political, economic and cultural factors which have led to differentiation across the region. In Libya the combination of a small population and oil wealth helped shield the Qaddafi regime from the Islamist challenge until the 1980s. Since that time, a plunge in oil revenues and Qaddafi's own unorthodox approach to Islam (which rejects the example of the Prophet as a source of religious law and relies solely on the Qur'an) has provided the Libyan Islamists with ample fuel for their rhetorical fire, but savage repression and the state's ever-shifting ideology has stunted the movement's organizational growth.

The relative weakness of the Moroccan Islamist movement is the result of four constraining factors. The first is the religious authority of King Hassan, who in addition to being the temporal monarch, is also the Amir al-Mu'mineen, or Commander of the Faithful in Morocco. Second, Hassan has proven himself to be the shrewdest and most politically savvy leader in North Africa, and perhaps all of the Arab world. The fact that Morocco has legal parties on both the left and right of the political spectrum has denied Islamism pride of place in the opposition, and reduced it to one force among many. Finally, government repression has produced a high rate of turnover in the Moroccan movement's leadership. Given this array of limiting factors, Burgat's conclusion that "the Islamists appear undiminished as the most popular" of the opposition forces is somewhat surprising.

Tunisia's Islamists were the first in the region to organize, largely in response to the country's student left but also because of the rapid secularization/Westernization program of former President Habib Bourguiba. In addition to their head start, the Tunisian Islamists' high degree of organization and sophistication is due in large part to the ability of their leader, Rached Ghannouchi. The movement became politicized after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and since then has experienced alternating periods of relative freedom and government repression. When the regime cracked down, the Islamists grew more radical as peaceful avenues of expression were sealed off. Periods of political liberalization gave the upper hand to the movement's moderates, who made the decision to play by multiparty democracy's rules--the first serious commitment to democracy among the region's Islamists, according to Burgat.

What is most interesting about the Tunisian experience with political freedom, though, is its effect on the Islamists' ideological platform. Forced to construct a credible program in order to be taken seriously in democratic politics, the Islamists clarified their once murky platform and resolved a number of ideological issues in favor of moderation. The hard choices led some hard-liners and some liberals to break away from the Islamist mainstream, but it also resulted in a level of political and ideological maturity among Tunisian activists sadly lacking in many Islamist movements around the world.

Burgat argues that participation by the Islamists in peaceful politics also forced the Tunisian government to increase its use of religious language and symbols. This helped the regime in the short term, but it also legitimized the use of religious references in the political arena, which ultimately strengthened the Islamists. This conundrum led in the end to the present period of repression of the country's Islamists which Burgat says has broken the movement's organization, but left its popular appeal intact.

The situation in Algeria is similar. The riots of October 1988 opened the political field to parties of all backgrounds, including the Islamists. Islamist activists in Algeria have favored peaceful change and participation in elections, but there have been violent exceptions. Burgat discusses the rise and fall of the largest Islamist party, the Islamic Salvation Front, and gives a clear account of the factors leading up to the army coup of January 1992 and the cancellation of elections. Burgat also discusses Algeria's other Islamists, and examines the latest developments in the regime's struggle against armed Islamist activists.

As for the region as a whole, there is little room for optimism in the short term, Burgat decides. "There is nothing that leads one to think that the misunderstandings linked to the rise in power of the Islamist[s]. . .are likely to be overcome any time soon," he writes. Burgat argues that attempts to remove Islamism from the political landscape by force are doomed to fail. "Nevertheless. . .no one seems in a hurry to accept what seems to be an inevitable cohabitation.”

Burgat's provocative discussion and conclusions are unfortunately somewhat marred by loose editing. The transliteration of Arabic names and terms uses French rather than English pronunciation, which will be confusing to some readers. The text contains a number of inconsistencies in spelling and would have greatly benefitted from the work of one more proofreader. The omission of a bibliography is somewhat excused by the thorough footnotes throughout the text, but the lack of an index will limit the ease with which the book can be used for quick research.

The flaws in the book's presentation are more than vindicated by its content, however. Dowell's translation is smooth and precise, and despite the intricacy of the subject the text is engaging throughout. The most appealing aspect of the book, though, is Burgat's extensive use of interview excerpts and original source material. This approach, which has been used effectively in English by John Esposito, allows the reader "to overhear and try to understand a new form of political discourse," as Robert Fernea notes in the book's foreword.

Burgat is clearly sympathetic to the Islamist movement, but is by no means blind to its faults. His analysis is rigorous and balanced, and what emerges from his text is a portrait of the internal dynamics of Islamism. "It is in these dynamics more than anywhere else," Burgat concludes, "that one can begin to see the contours of the new forces that will assume the responsibility of directing [North African] societies towards the twenty-first century." The Islamic Movement in North Africa is a serious, scholarly examination of these new forces reshaping politics not only in the Maghreb, but across the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Map (Africa)


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Author Noakes, Greg
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Arabian Cuisine

Bolivar, Lisa. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 2 (Aug 31, 1993): 70.


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Arabian Cuisine
By Anne Marie Weiss-Armush, 1991, 402 pp. Dar An-Nafaes Press, Beirut, Lebanon. List: $21.95; AET: $18.95 for one, $21.95 for two.

American-born Anne Marie Weiss-Armush's 372 pages of Middle Eastern recipes are accompanied by a wealth of entertaining information on cultural and regional aspects of the dishes she describes.

As part of the cultural lesson, Weiss-Armush, whose husband is Syrian, has included a section on Arabian hospitality--how the meals are presented in the Middle East. Hospitality, she explains, starts at the door of the Arab home when the host greets guests with the welcoming phrase "Ahlan wa sahlan." When food comes around, before or during a meal, guests may politely decline an offering of food twice. However, it should be offered at least three times in anticipation of its ultimate acceptance.

She also suggests serving at least seven dishes. Cooking three times the amount normally eaten is customary in Arab homes, so a guest can pick and choose. And, she adds, the leftovers are a welcome treat the next day when the cook probably will be exhausted.

A section of Arabic words and their English counterparts and an explanation of Middle Eastern spices also is given. The spice index includes historical information tracing the origin and medicinal properties, if any, of each spice. A chapter on garnishes and how to prepare them is a bonus, as is a metric conversion table, both found in the back of the book next to a map of the region.

The real treats, however, are the recipes. Almost every one is labeled with its English name, the transliteration of its Arabic name, its country of origin and its name in Arabic script. Many pages are illustrated with line drawings or colloquial sayings. Reading the Arabic proverb "Too many hands will burn the food," leaves the reader wondering about the process by which familiar sayings pass, slightly altered, from one culture to another.

The ingredients for the recipes, while in some cases exotic, can be found in both American and Oriental markets in U.S. cities. Although some sauces and garnishes suggested in the recipes refer to the wrong pages, patient thumbing through surrounding pages usually will locate them. This is the only aspect of the cookbook that was frustrating.

The main text is broken into a dozen categories. It begins with appetizers and makes its way through breads and pies to salads and soups. It becomes particularly creative with eggs and pilafs and suggests serving vegetables in surprising ways. Its meat section includes seafood, poultry and red meat dishes, but excludes pork, forbidden to Muslims.

The chapter on appetizers contains the familiar eggplant dip, baba ghannooj, and the popular chickpea paste, called humos bi tahini. While recipes for Syrian calf brains in tomato sauce, Armenian stuffed grape leaves (dolma) and Mediterranean green bean salad may sound slightly exotic, the recipe for baked locusts from Yemen has got to be the biggest surprise.

While the reviewer didn't test the latter dish, the recipe for eggs mimosa was both easy to make and tasty. It is a Lebanese version of deviled eggs. Chunk tuna and mixed vegetables are added to the mustard, mayonnaise and egg yolks before being spread into the hard-boiled egg whites. This is an interesting variation on a popular picnic food in the United States.

If you've ever wondered how to make pocket bread (pita), this book has the answer. Not only are recipes for traditional Middle Eastern flat breads given, but turnovers and stuffings also are listed.

No cookbook about the Middle East would be complete if it didn't include instructions for tabboole and fettoosh salads, two colorful and flavorful additions to the table. Tabboole, with its deep green parsley and flecks of red tomato and white onion, is a cheerful addition to any meal. And fettoosh's chunks of pita bread soak up the tangy dressing and add bulk to that salad's ingredients.

Some cooks will be surprised to find familiar salad items such as tomato salad, potato salad and vinegar-and-oil dressing in this section. Like kitchen proverbs, it's debatable which recipes originated in the East and traveled West and vice versa. Salads familiar to the Western cook, however, have an Oriental twist.

Middle Easterners seem to have a passion for stuffing vegetables. Weiss- Armush has given several examples of this. One in particular is a recipe called "The Imam Fainted," said to have caused a pious man to lose consciousness when he smelled the fragrant stuffed eggplant. Its stuffing includes onions, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic and cinnamon.

Many fish dishes are served in sauces. One favorite was sauce made of sesame paste, called tahini. It is so flavorful, that those who cringe when served fish are the most likely to be delighted at discovering this uniquely Eastern way of preparing it.

But fish is not the only uniquely treated meat. Chicken, usually a somewhat limited dish in the United States, can be served in the Middle East with olives, or with cinnamon sugar after being baked in a pie with almonds and eggs, or with fruit in a thick sauce and with a myriad of vegetables, and in other ways that have to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

Lamb and beef also are prepared uniquely. Many times a shell of ground meat is formed around stuffings. The oblong kefta then is baked or fried and served with rice and a salad. There are, in fact, many kebab recipes listed from different countries throughout the region. Trying each one is well worth the effort.

No ethnic cookbook would be complete without a dessert section. The author of Arabian Cuisine has a sweet tooth, presenting recipes ranging from orange cake, yoghurt doughnuts and three types of baklaawa to cookies, custards and puddings.

Weiss-Armush has sprinkled a wealth of information among her recipes. Readers therefore will find her book not only a practical guide for entertaining and just cooking for fun, but a compendium packed with welcome food for thought.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Bolivar, Lisa
Publication date Aug 31, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: An Autopsy Report on the Death of The Middle East Peace Process

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 6.


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Special Report: An Autopsy Report on the Death of The Middle East Peace Process
"Nineteen months after they began so promisingly in Madrid, the Mideast peace talks risk turning into an empty ritual. . . Before the more pragmatic forces on both sides of the table are swept away, Washington needs to renew the sense of urgency and momentum by directly interceding with the parties. A comprehensive Middle East peace settlement would do American interests and Bill Clinton's international standing a world of good. This historic opportunity, largely created by American policies, should not be allowed to slip away.”

--New York Times editorial,
May 16, 1993
If history records that the Middle East peace talks died on the May 14 last day of their "ninth round," it will mean only that that was the day the life-support system was unplugged. In fact, the "peace process" from which they had emerged died at least three months earlier.

Historians may quibble over whether the death certificate should read Nov. 3, 1992, the day Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States, or Feb. 1, 1993, the day Secretary of State Warren Christopher threatened to use a U. S. veto to stop the United Nations Security Council from imposing sanctions on Israel for its illegal expulsions of Palestinians. Both events inflicted grievous wounds on the process which had become the major foreign policy concern of the Bush administration.

Bush's stubborn pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian settlement right into an election year was precedent-shattering. The resulting media opposition orchestrated by Israel's implacable domestic lobby arguably cost Bush his re- election. Now, with the peace process upon which most friendly Arab rulers staked much of their own political capital probably beyond resuscitation, the long-range consequences for them, and for the U.S., are just as grim.

It is the first major foreign policy disaster of the Clinton Administration, and the spadework all was accomplished well within that administration's first 100 days. As the dimensions of the disaster--and the ultimate negative consequences even for Israel--become apparent, many of America's most consistently pro--Israel columnists and editors will be the first to call for an autopsy to determine who is to blame for the death of the peace process, and for the setbacks to moderates in Israel and the Arab world that are certain to follow. Since, as was the case with Irangate, Israel's media supporters won't like what they turn up, you won't read about their findings in the mainstream press. Nevertheless, before clouds of obfuscation blur the outlines of the tragedy, here's what an objective autopsy report might disclose:

In the late 1970s, President Jimmy Carter was on the right path toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement. His problem was that after successfully putting economic pressure on Egypt's President Anwar Sadat to sign the first of two projected land-for-peace agreements, Carter's nerve failed when it came time to apply similar pressure to Israel's Menachem Begin to sign a land-for- peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Indefinitely Postponed
Because the Israel lobby was raising a storm of U.S. media opposition to his 1980 re-election campaign, Carter postponed further good works in the Middle East until his second term. But, not coincidentally, there was no second term.

Instead, emboldened by the separate peace that had taken the Egyptian army out of the Middle East equation, and the friendlier presence in the White House of Ronald Reagan, Begin launched his invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, supposedly with a "green light" from Reagan's secretary of state, Alexander Haig.

The disastrous consequences of Israel's "incursion" into Lebanon cost Haig his job. Virtually the first act by Haig's successor, George Shultz, was to propose, in September 1982, the "Reagan plan for Middle East peace." Like the Nixon-era "Rogers plan" and Jimmy Carter's Camp David efforts, it was based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 242's land-for-peace formula, whereby Israel would withdraw from lands occupied in the 1967 war in exchange for Arab acknowledgement of Israel's right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.

The only trouble with the "Reagan Plan," which ultimately was acceptable to the concerned Arab states, was that Menachem Begin had rejected it on the day it was announced, and within 24 hours had opened 10 more of the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories that every U.S. president has called "obstacles to peace." The U.S. did not cut its aid to Israel. Instead, perhaps because Shultz concluded that, in the crunch, Reagan always would come down on the side of Israel, the U.S. secretary of state abandoned his own plan.

Thereafter he let Israel's supporters within the Reagan administration dictate an ill-conceived fix that circumvented the Israeli-Palestinian impasse altogether, while trying to secure a mutual Israeli and Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. Predictably, the Shultz plan came to naught, and American Marines and diplomats paid with their lives for Washington's refusal to defy Israel's U.S. lobby and address the core of U.S. problems in the Middle East.

As a man continuously engaged in foreign affairs since 1972, by the time George Bush was elected president in 1988 he knew exactly what he wanted to do to cauterize the bleeding wound in U.S. policy represented by the unsolved Palestinian-Israeli dispute. He set out to cultivate the Arabs, reassure the Israeli public that his quarrel was with their government, not their security needs, and breathe some life into a "peace process" that had been on hold since the "Reagan Plan" was still-born in 1982.

Although the blueprint of the revived "peace process" was in George's Bush's mind, he entrusted his close personal friend and former campaign manager, Secretary of State James Baker, to carry it out. Baker's qualifications for the job were Bush's total confidence in him, the political insight that prompted him to approach the peace process as a U.S. domestic political problem rather than a foreign policy matter, and the fact that he brought to it no preconceived religious or political prejudices of his own. He listened to the experts on both Israeli and Arab affairs, and put some of both on his tight-knit, close-mouthed team.

Bush and Baker gave Middle East peace a high priority, even after the Soviet empire began collapsing around them. They wanted the resulting Arab- Israeli peace agreement to be signed a full year before the 1992 elections, which otherwise would tempt the Israelis to drag their feet while their U.S. lobbyists worked for a friendlier administration, as had happened during Carter's term.

Bush and Baker reasoned that Israel's U.S. media supporters would oppose any U.S. pressure they might interpret as endangering Israeli security, but could be turned around completely once an agreement had been signed that promised Israel the much greater security of a U.S. guaranteed peace with all of its Arab neighbors.

Given the clarity of their goal, and the single-mindedness of their pursuit, the plan might have worked if it had not been for the unanticipated invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussain's Iraq. Whatever prompted the Iraqi strongman to think he would be allowed to move, unscathed, in-to position to exercise control over more than 60 percent of the world's oil reserves, it is indisputable that Desert Shield, which began with the Iraqi invasion on Aug. 2, 1990, and Desert Storm, which ended with a midnight cease-fire on Feb. 27, 1991, together set back the Bush-Baker timetable for Middle East peace by one year.

Bush signaled his determination to resume the Middle East peace process unmistakably when, in a Sept. 3, 1991 press conference, he complained about "1,000 lobbyists on the Hill" seeking to pressure "one lonely little guy down here" to grant $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Israel before assessing Israel's performance at the forthcoming peace talks in Madrid. A poll immediately afterward indicated that 86 percent of the American people supported Bush. So did moderate Arab governments, all of which also supported the first direct, face-to-face talks between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors in more than 40 years.

Although Saudi Arabia was not a "confrontation state," Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, personally attended the Madrid conference that began in October 1991. Just as the U.S. held the unapproved loan guarantees like a club over Israel, the Saudi emissary alternately threatened to withhold or promised to increase his Kingdom's subsidies to the Arab "confrontation" states and the Palestinians to cajole them into negotiating.

After face-to-face talks began, largely on Israeli terms but with heavy prodding from the United States, the Israelis broke first. Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, whose entire political career had been based upon his pledge never to give up "one inch of the land of Israel," not even for peace, dissolved his government and called for new elections. In the ensuing June 1992 elections, Yitzhak Rabin, a hawk heading the relatively moderate Labor Party, won. In fact, however, his mandate from Israeli voters was not to negotiate land for peace, but to do whatever he had to to restore Israel's frayed financial lifeline from the United States--and nothing more.

The peace talks resumed, with a pledge by Bush to give Congress a "green light" to provide Israel with the first $2 billion installment of U.S. loan guarantees. Exactly as happened in 1980, however, as Israel's media supporters went all out to defeat a president they perceived as tough on Israel, progress toward a settlement slowed as Israelis and Palestinians alike began to comtemplate the possiblity of a change of administrations.

A Change in U.S. Administrations
Bush lost the election and the peace talks slipped off the fast track that, prior to Nov. 3, had taken them so close to an agreement granting Palestinians five years of autonomy, during which the ultimate status of the occupied territories would be determined. But, with all parties sensing a vacuum in Washington, violence in the occupied territories spiraled out of control and death tolls soared on both sides.

It was the Rabin government, however, that finally kicked over the peace table. On Dec. 17, 1992, Israeli forces seized in their homes, shops and on the streets 415 Muslims they said were Islamic extremists, bused them all to the Lebanese border, and dumped them onto a desolate mountainside between Israel's "security zone" on Lebanese territory and the first Lebanese outposts a few miles to the north. There the expellees, none of whom had been charged with any specific crime, set up camp while the United Nations Security Council, joined by the United States, passed a resolution demanding that Israel immediately repatriate the expellees. While the world waited for Israel to comply with the U.N.'s binding resolution, the peace talks went on hold.

The Bush administration's last two acts in the Middle East were its vote to support the U.N. Security Council's condemnation of Israel, and its signature on the first $2 billion in loan guarantees to Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin took the money, but did not repatriate the expellees.

Pressure then began to build within the U.N. Security Council to apply sanctions to Israel along the lines of sanctions imposed on such other violators of Security Council resolutions as Iraq or Libya.

It was newly appointed Secretary of State Warren Christopher's intervention to keep the sanctions resolution from coming to a vote that signaled the Rabin government that the Bush administration policies of economic and political pressure were a thing of the past. Freed of the threat of U.N. sanctions or a reduction of U.S. aid, Rabin began an elaborate public relations buildup to indicate that he was, nevertheless, on the verge of making a separate peace with Syria, based upon demilitarization and total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights, which Israel had seized from Syria in 1967.

It was the kind of deal that only extremely pro-Israel advisers in the U.S. government would argue was possible. But Clinton had installed, in return for election support from Israel's lobby, former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) official Martin Indyk as White House Middle East adviser, and long-time U.S. Ambassador to Israel Samuel Lewis as State Department Director of Policy Planning. It is not yet clear whether Christopher really believed that a separate Syrian-Israeli peace that would isolate the Palestinians was possible, or whether he hoped that giving the idea a chance to fail would discredit the open advocates for Israeli policies before they became too deeply rooted in the Clinton administration.

To demonstrate that he was not about to make a separate peace, Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad even met with his longtime enemy, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, and reiterated a pledge that Syria would sign no peace agreement with Israel based upon return of Syrian lands until all Palestinian, Jordanian and Lebanese territorial claims also had been dealt with.

Sensing, correctly, that the ninth round of peace talks in Washington would be devoted solely to Israeli attempts to engage Syria in a separate peace, the Palestinian delegation at first declined to attend. In order to spare the Arabs the onus for breaking off the talks in which they all had invested so much political capital, however, Saudi Arabia and the oil-producing Gulf states promised to resume subsidies to Palestinian institutions broken off during the Gulf war, if the Palestinians would attend. Meanwhile Israel, at U.S. urging, also announced "concessions" to the Palestinians.

These included allowing the de facto head of the Palestinian delegation, East Jerusalem leader and PLO loyalist Faisal Husseini, to head the Palestinian delegation in name as well as fact, and permitting the first 30 of more than 1,700 Palestinians previously expelled from the occupied areas to return. The U.S. assured the Palestinians that other Israeli concessions also would be revealed to the Palestinians when they showed up for the ninth round of talks in Washington. The only significant additional concession, however, turned out to be an Israeli pledge to regularize the status of some 5,000 Palestinians presently living in the occupied territories without residence permits.

Bowing to inter-Arab pressure, the Palestinians did show up along with the delegations of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and, under Husseini's direction, went for the first time into three working groups with the Israelis to deal with the separate problems of land and water resources, human rights during the remainder of the occupation, and the nature of the political structure that would replace the occupation.

When it became clear to the Israelis and their American backers that there really would be no separate Syrian-Israeli treaty, however, the enthusiasm of all of the Israeli negotiators cooled perceptibly. Just prior to the opening of the talks, in a speech before the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee, Christopher had promised not just to "appear to be even-handed, but to be even-handed." Subsequently, as the talks petered out, he promised that the U.S. would break with precedent and actively intervene.

When Baker had threatened to do this some months earlier, the Israelis had objected that they had come to the talks on the firm understanding that the U.S. would take an active role only if invited to by both sides. This time, however, no such objections were raised because the Israelis had no fear that Clinton's Secretary of State would exert pressure on them. On the next-to-last day of the talks, the U.S. submitted to both the Palestinian and the Israeli delegations a U.S.-prepared summary of "agreed points" and suggestions for dealing with points still outstanding.

The U.S. paper did not address the question of Jerusalem, however, or other points of major concern to the Palestinians. These are regaining control of their own land and water, so that they can continue to exist and make a living during the five-year autonomy period by deepening wells where necessary, and building places in which to live and do business. Nor did the paper address the Palestinian insistance that all parties agree in advance that the outcome of the five-year autonomy will be Palestinian independence, and not just a further prolongation of the occupation. In the absence of assurances on these key points, the Palestinians, who already had reduced the size of their delegation, declined even to attend the final session. Plans for a photo session with Clinton were shelved.

As delegates fanned out for speaking engagements across the United States before returning to the Middle East, a State Department spokesman announced that the U.S. hoped to host a 10th session of the talks in June. In the absence of any sign of U.S. pressure on Israel, however, it is unlikely that the Arab states will continue pressuring the Palestinians to participate, and that anything other than pro-forma sessions between Israel and any of the other delegations will take place.

Assuming the talks now are frozen, possibly to be resuscitated by a Clinton administration chastened at the instant failure of its first excursion into Middle East diplomacy, or more likely to be resuscitated by a Clinton successor, what accomplishments can be attributed to the just-concluded ninth round?

Ninth-Round Accomplishments
First, they deprived the Israelis of the opportunity to reiterate their ancient and patently false charge that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." The Palestinians showed up. They did so even though they knew the Israelis had nothing new to offer them, and will have nothing to offer them until another U.S. president resumes the Bush carrot-and- stick method of dealing with Israel, insisting that it comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions as a condition for further U.S. aid.

Also, despite all Israeli efforts to split the Palestinians in the occupied territories, first by strengthening and favoring the Islamists of Hamas and then by expelling and persecuting them, the Palestinians emerged relatively united. Polls showed majorities of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and even in Gaza, the cradle of Hamas, approved of Palestinian participation in the Mideast peace talks.

The ninth round also showed the sometimes divided Arab states that, when it comes to Palestine, they can work together and, no matter how tempting the terms, it would be politically impossible for the leader of any Arab "confrontation state" to break ranks and make a separate peace with Israel. This was by no means as clear, even to the Arabs themselves, before Round 9.

What the ninth round showed Israelis, unfortunately, was something totally different. The Israeli electorate will conclude that since the Clinton administration seems more interested in keeping the domestic political support of Israel's lobby than settling Middle Eastern problems, no further concessions to the Arabs are necessary to keep U.S. aid flowing to their country.

While the Rabin government seeks to prove through its closure of the occupied areas that Israel can do without them, Israeli voters may conclude instead that since it no longer takes a Labor government to get U.S. aid, they can safely bring back a Likud government. Such a government would deal even more harshly with the Palestinians, perhaps even bringing about another "miraculous cleansing of the land" like the one accomplished by Likud's founders in 1948, when 750,000 Palestinians fled their homes in terror or at gunpoint.

If Israelis come away with such a conclusion, however, it will be the wrong one. Informed U.S. public opinion on the Arab-Israeli dispute has changed dramatically, as demonstrated by the polls immediately after Bush's defiance of the Israel lobby. Despite the Israel lobby's lock on Congress and the press, Israel's open-ended lien on the U.S. treasury is no longer accepted by most Americans. A determined assault led by such senatorial heavyweights as former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd (DWV) and present Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS), both of whom have expressed disgust with Israeli foreign aid "entitlements," could reduce aid to Israel drastically.

Meanwhile, time may turn out to be on the side of the Palestinians, not the Israelis. Closing off the West Bank makes it a far more dangerous and less desirable place to live for Jewish "settlers." Few but religious fanatics or single-minded bargain hunters will choose to live there in the future. And, although the Palestinians desperately need outside financial aid to replace the wages they earned from construction and agricultural jobs in Israel proper, such resources exist if the Arab states work as effectively together in this regard as they did during the peace talks.

Instead of the Arab world erupting in an orgy of religious violence, providing the cover under which a Likud government would "transfer" the Palestinians once and for all from the land of their birth, things may work out quite differently. It may instead be Likud's new charismatic--and rabble- rousing--leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, who unleashes the fundamentalist violence. He can hardly contain his impatience to turn the fear of withdrawals from the occupied territories by Israeli settlers and their sympathizers into a victory over Rabin at the polls. Such a victory, perhaps within a year, may have unlooked-for effects: the flight of skilled and educated European Jews from Israel, and a decisive downturn in U.S. aid for Israel.

In that case, the odds two or three years from now might look very different. On the one side are 2.1 million Palestinians under occupation seeking sovereignty over only 22 per cent of their land and backed not only by a Palestinian diaspora of at least another 2 million, but also by 170 million other Arabs--including some of the richest oil-producers in the world--and another 800 million non-Arab Muslims, many of them in the U.S.

On the other side is an indigent, quarrelsome, polarized, and increasingly violent Israel. Its 5 million inhabitants, only 4.1 million of whom are Jewish can look for backing only to a Jewish diaspora now concentrated almost solely in the United States, which has its hands full keeping the foreign aid flowing from increasingly reluctant American taxpayers. Except for its American tie, Israel has become a pariah nation, permanently in a state of non-compliance with U.N. resolutions, and without another friend or ally in the world.

The Clinton administration, by permitting Israel to kick over the peace table, has let down America's wealthy and strategically placed Arab allies, and has placed all of America's chips on Israel. That, perhaps in the short run and certainly over an extended period, will prove to be still another foreign policy disaster for an administration remarkably adept at creating them.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Faisal Hasseini)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Bosnia; Why the Yanks, at Their Own Pace, Probably Are Coming

Curtiss, Richard H. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 7.


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Special Report: Bosnia; Why the Yanks, at Their Own Pace, Probably Are Coming
"President Clinton is entitled to sympathy in the Bosnian problem. He inherited it from others who could have solved it so much more easily by acting promptly. But sympathy ends with his performance. He has given us the worst of all possible worlds: irresolution. He looks like a man unable to decide and unable to lead. The result is a disaster for the Bosnians, for peace and order in Europe and--not least--for Bill Clinton.”

--Columnist Anthony Lewis, New York Times, May 11, 1993
Candidate Bill Clinton had it right the very first time when, during the 1992 presidential campaign, he criticized President George Bush's inaction in the face of Serbian "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia. President Clinton also had it right the second time, after 100 days in office.

It was then that he sent Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Europe to enlist support for a program to halt the genocide by which Bosnia's 31 percent Serbian population had seized 70 percent of the land. Clinton proposed that if the Serbs refused to join Bosnia's Muslims, who comprise 44 percent of the population, and Croats, who comprise 17 percent, in agreeing to the Vance- Owen peace plan for Bosnia, the international community should take two steps.

The first is to lift the arms embargo that prevents the Bosnian government from getting the artillery it needs to defend itself against well supplied Serb and Croat armies. That step "to level the playing field" would encounter no opposition from the U.S. Congress or the U.S. public. It was received very negatively by the British and French, however. They apparently fear that some arms could find their way into the hands of terrorists in Western Europe.

The second Clinton proposal is to bomb Serb artillery and military strong- points in Bosnia until the shooting stops and, if it doesn't stop, perhaps extend the bombing to bridges, airfields and military strong-points in Serbia itself. That proposal was criticized by the French, who feared it would provoke Serb retaliation against their troops presently in Bosnia.

Christopher accepted a third proposal originated by the Europeans, to lend U.S. military support to the "safe areas" already being established, willy nilly, around besieged Muslim populations. Where Christopher had in mind U.S. bombing strikes to take out Serb tanks and artillery shelling the safe areas, however, the French demanded that the perimeters be reinforced by U.S. ground troops.

Christopher returned rebuffed, and Clinton, who had expected to launch a major personal campaign to enlist the support of Congress and the American people for whatever intervention measures the U.S. and the Europeans had agreed upon, found himself with nothing to say. He looked and sounded irresolute and seemed to be blaming the Europeans for his own unwillingness to chart a course and persuade the rest of the world to adopt it, as George Bush had done in the Gulf war.

Alarmed by Clinton's initial warlike stance, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic had initiated a highly public "blockade" of his Bosnian fellow Serbs for not accepting the Vance-Owen peace plan. Serbian television suddenly began a campaign to denigrate as a free-loading gambler Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, whom Serbian TV had been hailing as a hero the week before.

When no bombers were launched after Christopher's return from Europe, however, Milosevic relaxed. His "blockade" turned out to be a sham, and the cease-fire that went into effect between Serbian and Muslim forces in Bosnia broke down. Serbian attacks on Muslim enclaves resumed, and Croats, too, undertook to seize Muslim-controlled territory.

Some of the U.S. media began to turn its attention elsewhere, assuming that America's new president was prepared to ignore the Bosnian carnage, let the Serbs and Croats divide the spoils, and blame his inaction on the Europeans. That, however, is unlikely to happen.

Despite the delay, the U.S. very likely will intervene unless the Serbs (and Croats) truly halt their military incursions--a course they show no signs of taking until they are convinced the Yanks really are coming. The reasons the U.S. almost certainly will take action go to the heart of the differences between Americans and their European cousins.

All are deeply affected by the horrors they are seeing in Bosnia on their television screens nightly. The difference, however, is that media-driven public opinion does, eventually, affect, and sometimes dictate, policy in the United States. Unlike the European countries, where the government keeps some or all of the major television channels for its own use, the U.S. government has none.

In France, the "intellectuals" in the media establishment, who truly are agitated over genocide in Bosnia, can be neutralized by a French governmental establishment determined not to become further involved. In the U.S., by contrast, the policy makers vie among themselves for public opinion backing.

Last summer State Department desk officer for Bosnia George Kenney resigned to protest Bush's inaction. This year 11 of State's Eastern European desk officers signed a letter calling on Christopher to bring the Serb genocide more forcefully to the attention of the White House. In the White House itself, mid-level staffers reportedly were seeking to generate pro-intervention reports to influence the president.

In the United States, in a tug of war between the White House as it seeks to set the media agenda, and the privately owned television networks as they decide what daily "soundbites" to present or reject, there truly is a "level playing field." Further, if U.S. national "newspapers of record," and the hundreds of smaller newspapers they own outright or supply with syndicated columns, team up with the electronic media, they can beat the White House at any game.

Anyone who doubts this wasn't in the U.S. during the 1992 presidential election. Then the media ganged up to make George Bush look inept as well as inarticulate, to depict the economy as in worse shape than it was, and to help a small-state governor overcome some major political liabilities to look presidential.

Now much of the major network and newspaper establishment that tilted so openly to put Clinton into office is goading him to save the Muslims in Bosnia. The issue is presented as a choice between protecting helpless innocents or tolerating murderous bullies, and as a major test of his leadership. Clinton's reaction, Americans (and Clinton) are being informed, will define his presidency, and demonstrate his fitness or unfitness to lead. The fact that all of this is true only makes the media campaign harder to resist, no matter how uncertain Clinton actually may feel.

Eventually, unless the Serbs stop their land-grabbing, Clinton will have to act. When he does, the U.S. Congress will, after predictable posturing and public soul-searching, support him. So will the U.S. public, which grants a president the benefit of the doubt in foreign affairs--at least until things start going wrong. And, if history is any guide, when the U.S. takes action, the Europeans will come on board, as they did in Iraq and Somalia.

The one thing not predictable is when America's new president will make up his mind. He truly is untried.

There are other lessons to be learned from all this by Middle Easterners and Americans concerned with the Middle East. One is the contrast between the pressures on Clinton to help Muslims being pushed around by Christian Serbs and the pressures not to get involved where Muslims (and Christians) are being pushed around by Jewish Israelis.

Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia are right when they say there is a double standard in the Christian West. But in the U.S., in contrast to Europe, the double standard is not anti-Islamic. It is just pro-Israel.

Awareness that they are profoundly biased for Israel in Palestine makes liberal American Jews all the more anxious to go to the aid of persecuted Muslims in Bosnia. Liberal American Jewish organizations, too, have been faster off the mark in calling on Clinton to stop the genocide than many Christian groups. There also are differences between American Jewish groups concerned about a multitude of social issues, like the American Jewish Congress, and other Jewish groups concerned only about extracting U.S. support for Israel, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. While the American Jewish Congress urges U.S. support for Bosnia, AIPAC and ADL are silent.

Making Their Positions Clear
Let it be noted also that mainstream American churches, Protestant and Catholic alike, though always painfully slow to react, now are making their positions known. They deplore the Serbian genocide against Muslims, and will support U.S. military measures to stop it. The fact that it is Christians who are victimizing Muslims may or may not have slowed these reactions, but it has not changed them. Christian Arab-American leaders, too, have publicly expressed their solidarity with Bosnia's Muslims.

It seems that most Americans, regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds, have learned the true lesson of the European Holocaust: "Never again" is meaningful only if it means "never again to anyone, anywhere," not just "never again to my kind.”

This gets right to the heart of the differences in the way Europeans and Americans will, eventually, react to the holocaust being suffered, at this moment, by Bosnian Muslims in the villages, towns and cities where they have lived "since time immemorial."

European vs. American Reactions
In many European countries, there still may be a visceral resistance to the increasingly multiethnic nature of their societies. Not very long ago, being British, French or German meant your ancestors had lived in your country and spoken your language for generations. Now it just refers to the kind of passport you carry. It's something new, since World War II, and much of the subconscious resentment it generates focuses on Muslims, who constitute some of the most visible components of the new multiethnic societies of Western Europe. Consciously or unconsciously, that's one reason the British and French may have been a little slower to rush to the defense of Bosnian Muslims than they might have been if the victims, instead of the villains, were the Serbs, their allies in two world wars.

Americans are different in at least one respect. Neither the Crusades nor anything that has transpired since in Christian-Islamic relations has impinged on the national consciousness. Americans are accustomed to living next door to, working beside, serving in wars with, and marrying people whose ethnic and religious roots are different. America has its own problems, notably black- white relationships and those resulting from the present massive influx of poor Latin Americans. None of these, however, have anything whatsoever to do with Islam or the Middle East.

Americans are coming to feel just as involved with the fate of Bosnian Muslims as they do, belatedly, with the fate of the Jews of Europe half a century ago. The worry that Americans might have been able to do something they didn't do then to help the Jews contributes to the reluctance to stand idly by now. It would be exactly the same feeling if the victims were Serbs or Croats. It's sympathy for the underdog and aversion for the bully, regardless of race or religion, and it's as American as cowboy movies and apple pie.

It doesn't mean that Americans are better or bolder than anyone else-- just different for valid historical reasons. But it's a fact that the Serbian government today and Rafsanjani's Iranian government tomorrow should consider. As in World War I and World War II, unless the shooting, shelling, bombing, burning, looting, raping and killing stop, the Yanks--in their own sweet time and at their own unpredictable pace--almost certainly are coming.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (U.N. forces helping evacuate Bosnian muslims)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Curtiss, Richard H
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Cost of U.S. Loan Guarantees to Israel: First Consequences of U.S. Loan Guarantees Hurt U.S. Borrowers

Moses, George. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 12.


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The Cost of U.S. Loan Guarantees to Israel: First Consequences of U.S. Loan Guarantees Hurt U.S. Borrowers
Just before this year's April 15 tax deadline, one of the first financial shock waves resulting from the planned American guarantees of $10 billion of Israeli debt struck in the United States. A bill is pending in the Ohio legislature that would make it possible for the state of Ohio to invest in general obligation bonds issued by the state of Israel. This legislative proposal illustrates all at once the impact of those controversial obligations placed upon the U.S. Treasury, making loans to Israel more secure than loans to U. S. states or cities.

The state of Ohio does not invest its money just anywhere. Its laws are very explicit about which investments the treasurer of that state can make. They include U.S. government securities, securities guaranteed by the U.S. government, obligations of the state of Ohio, repurchase obligations of banks located in Ohio, and a limited amount of the highest rated corporate issues of American corporations.

It is not clear from the proposed legislation whether the state of Ohio invests in the bonds of any other state. What is clear is that until now Ohio has invested all of its operating funds in American institutions.

Israel's Bonds Now "Investment Grade”

The new law would change that. Under this proposal, the treasurer of Ohio would be authorized to purchase bonds guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the state of Israel. With the granting of the full $10 billion in American loan guarantees over a five-year period, American taxpayers will have become cosigners for $10 billion of Israeli debt. The practical effect of these guarantees has been to raise the previously abysmal rating of all of Israel's bonds high enough to allow these bonds to be considered "investment grade," despite Israel's well-documented economic weaknesses.

As the bill is written, however, the state of Ohio could purchase any general obligation bond of the state of Israel, not just those formally guaranteed by the U.S. government. Israel would be the only political entity whose debt the laws of the state of Ohio authorize as acceptable for the investment of state operating funds, except for the U.S. government and the state of Ohio itself.

This bill is moving forward despite the fact that in terms of the living standards of its people, Israel is a wealthy country. It ranks just below Spain and just above Ireland in per capita income as measured by the World Bank. It is probably wealthier than parts of Ohio. Yet, the vote in the Ohio Senate's ways and means committee to move investment out of Ohio and into Israel was 8 to 0.

Until now Ohio has invested all of its operating funds in American institutions.

If the law is enacted, it will have three immediate adverse effects on public and private institutions in Ohio.

First, the pool of money which Ohio uses to lend to its own banks and institutions would shrink by the amount lent to Israel. Those institutions, and counties and cities, will have to go outside Ohio and maybe even outside the United States to complete their borrowing, or pay higher rates of interest, or perhaps both.

Second, the Bank of Israel deliberately is setting a very high yield on these bonds. A cursory review indicates that currently issued Israeli bonds have a higher yield than those of many, if not all, major Ohio cities. This will inevitably put upward pressure on the interest rates those cities must pay. When interest expense eats up municipal tax dollars, programs for Ohio citizens are stripped of those dollars.

Israel is able to pay these high interest rates to investors at least in part because the U.S. government has guaranteed that it will give to Israel as much money as Israel needs to pay its own interest costs on its public debt to the United States. When Israel borrows from the U.S., it is in effect given an interest-free loan. American taxpayers pay the interest. No city in Ohio, or any other state for that matter, gets such good borrowing terms from Uncle Sam.

Third, money borrowed by Israel through its bond sales is not under the oversight of the United States government. Thus, it can be used to fund projects based upon continued Israeli racial and religious discrimination that would be illegal in the United States. Such activities also can involve violations of U.S. policy and/or international law, such as the continuing occupation of southern Lebanon, and construction and operation of prison camps for persons detained without recourse to legal protection and the torture facilities that are specifically condoned by Israeli law.

A Mismanaged Israeli Economy
Israel's economy is badly in need of reform. Israeli politicians of both parties have admitted it, and the United States government has recommended repeatedly that Israel stop squandering its resources through mismanagement of its economy and the adoption of policies it cannot afford. But nothing changes, and mismanagement renders the Israeli economy totally incapable of self- sufficiency.

On May 4, a report from the state financial watchdog, Comptroller Miriam BenPorat, put the cost of the 16-year-old Israeli bank bailout at $9.1 billion, and climbing. Under the terms of that bailout, the Israeli government was to have sold the shares it bought in the banks back to the public by this October. So far it has sold controlling interests in none of the banks, and does not expect to be able to do so by the deadline. Until those shares are sold, the size of the loss is incalculable.

This legislative ploy is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The Ohio initiative is likely to be part of an Israeli 50-state strategy to invade U.S. capital markets to support itself at the expense of American municipalities. Ironically, the financial weapons to make the campaign successful are provided by American taxpayers.

The next few weeks will be critical. Ohio groups are beginning to question the wisdom of sending Ohio's investment resources abroad when they so clearly are needed at home.

If Ohio takes this step, however, other states certainly will follow. If, on the other hand, the measure stalls, Ohio will have demonstrated that it is not as willing to be an uncritical cash cow for any Israeli whim as is the federal government. By defeating this measure, Ohio's state government can send the message that, unlike many of Ohio's representatives in Congress, it puts the needs of its own towns and cities above those of foreign countries.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Moses, George
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Affairs of State: A Tale of Two Diplomats; Ambassador to Israel is Reassigned

Bird, Gene. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 13.


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Affairs of State: A Tale of Two Diplomats; Ambassador to Israel is Reassigned
U.S. Ambassador to Israel William Harrop is being reassigned because the Israeli government didn't like his warnings to Israeli audiences to prepare for inevitable reductions in U.S. aid. The subject came up twice in public speeches he delivered and, according to the Tel Aviv daily Ma'ariv, the Clinton administration decided to dismiss Harrop for "deviating" from U.S. policy.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) had said the same thing in a recent visit to Israel, which is why the U.S. ambassador was asked by Israelis to address the matter. What he said was not to their liking.

Nor did it please Rep. Tom Lantos (DCA), the Hungarian-American guardian of Israel's interests in Congress. Lantos pressed Assistant Secretary of State Edward Djerejian about whether or not Harrop was articulating Clinton administration policy. State Department Policy Planning Director Sam Lewis, who served as U.S. ambassador to Israel for eight years, went to Tel Aviv to deliver the bad news.

Meanwhile, the scramble was on in the State Department to replace Harrop, with the Israel lobby seeking a Lewis-minded rather than a Harrop-minded candidate. Richard Schifter, a Reagan administration political appointee as assistant secretary of state for human rights, who resigned toward the end of the Bush era and, as a columnist for the Washington Jewish Week, supported Bill Clinton's candidacy, is back in the State Department as a Clinton administration political appointee, representing the U.S. with international organizations in Geneva.

Schifter desperately wanted to become the first Jewish ambassador to Israel. He elected to push his candidacy through Samuel R. (Sandy) Berger, White House deputy national security adviser, whose reputation as a liberal Jewish advocate of the dovish Americans for Peace Now makes him an unlikely supporter for a hard-line "neo-conservative" advocate of Israeli policies like Schifter. Schifter then called Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and the conversation went something like this, according to one insider:

Schifter: Mr. Secretary, I wanted you to know that I am ready to step in at Tel Aviv and I think I would be a good choice to push the peace process.

Christopher: I know that Mr. Berger has been suggesting this, pushing for it pretty strongly. But I believe you may be a little old for the job.

Schifter (taken aback): Why, Mr. Secretary, I am 69, that is true, but on the other hand, you are 67.

Christopher: Well, you know that I turned the president down on that very basis--that I was too old. But he insisted. The difference between that case and this is that he really wanted me and insisted on my accepting.

End of conversation.

The State Department announced a few days later that William Brown, an Arabist who has served previously in Tel Aviv as ambassador, had been appointed temporary ambassador, a highly unusual step that does not require Senate confirmation. Reginald Bartholomew, currently a special envoy on Bosnia, is rumored to be under consideration for Tel Aviv. A former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, he would be the first Jewish U.S. ambassador to Israel.

A Tale of Two Conventions: Conversions and Revelations
Speaking at the 1993 Washington, DC convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel's principal U.S. lobby, a Los Angeles early morning talk show host told the following joke: His guest was Christian fundamentalist televangelist and perennial presidential candidate Pat Robertson. The talk show host told him, "Pat, if you will support Israel now, I will guarantee you that every Jew will convert to become a supporter of Christ when he makes his second coming." The largely Jewish audience roared.

Speaking on the media panel at the 1993 Washington, DC conference of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Director Saul Landau of the Institute for Policy Studies told the following joke: During the 1970s, the Washington press corps had decided that then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger frequently bent the truth, but none of them could tell when he was lying and when he was not. They hired a psychologist who sat in on several press conferences and then briefed the press people: "It is very simple, really. He is telling the truth whenever he puts his hands on his glasses. He is telling the truth whenever he rubs the sides of his legs. And the secretary is telling the truth for sure whenever he puts his hands together under his chin. But, Dr. Kissinger certainly is telling lies whenever he opens his mouth." The largely Arab-American audience roared.

A Tale of Two Speeches: Warren Schmoozes Even-Handedly
Secretary of State Warren Christopher attended the spring 1993 AIPAC and ADC conferences. Appearances by U.S. secretaries of state are de rigueur at AIPAC, but Christopher's appearance before an ADC audience marked a first for a secretary of state, although Secretary of State James Baker had spoken before a U.S.-Arab business group during the Bush administration.

The secretary seemed to woo both sides equally in the two public appearances. He did it with carefully crafted reassurances that somehow did not contradict each other.

At the AIPAC meeting, the leadership baffled some of the less politically savvy rank and file by making a complete turnabout in AIPAC's attitude toward Americans for Peace Now, if not toward other liberal Jewish groups who have come to power in Israel. The reason is that some U.S. Jewish "peaceniks" have become official or unofficial members of the Clinton administration, either as FOBs (Friends of Bill) or friends of Hillary.

AIPAC mustered a claimed 3,000 delegates, plus 1,000 students from Zionist campus groups. The moment was characterized by AIPAC Executive Director Tom Dine as "The Bright U.S.-Israel Relationship Today." There were boos from right-wing supporters, however, who objected to what they characterized as a sellout by Dine, who endorsed the application of Americans for Peace Now to join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Two weeks after the conference, Peace Now's American President, Peter Edelman, was voted in as a member of the conference. He is an FOB, meaning friend of both Bill and Hillary.

Trumpeting the dominance of pro-Israel policymakers in this administration, one speaker went so far as to claim, "Israel is an anchor for U.S. foreign policy, not just in the Middle East but throughout the world." The hubris was palpable, and the change from a year ago was remarkable.

The new chairman of AIPAC, Steve Grossman, is a Peace Now-type personality who used to head the Democratic Party in Massachusetts. Still, it was a wrenching experience for many in AIPAC to accept Peace Now as an almost equal.

By contrast, the only dispute that rippled the surface of a harmonious ADC convention concerned U.S. treatment of Iraq. No one disagreed that Iraqi President Saddam Hussain had violated both international law and human rights with his invasion and occupation of Kuwait. But a small, very small, group at the ADC convention rejected the whole of U.S. policy toward Iraq over the past three years.

Secretary Christopher was a hit at both conferences. At the ADC conference, it was an easy achievement. He was there. At the AIPAC conference, he had congressional company. Some 107 representatives and 35 senators also showed up.

For the AIPAC audience, he called Israel a "very special place" because of three themes. First, "shared values." Second, an "American commitment to Israel's security." Third, a "mutual commitment to Arab-Israeli peace.”

At neither conference, however, did he suggest that perhaps Israel was in deep violation of human and civil rights. And no one in his AIPAC audience asked him whether these shared values meant that America might someday hold as many political prisoners or kill as many persons under its control as has Israel. (The U.S. would have had to kill over a period of five years some 12,500 children under the age of 14, and have imprisoned more than half a million people, to have shared "Israeli values" in full.)
The ADC attendees thoroughly enjoyed the secretary's humor, particularly when he said that when he was photographed in Egypt posing with the Sphinx, one newspaper caption explained the "face on the left is Christopher's." Christopher emphasized for the ADC audience the rewards of peace, including the end of terrorism, the end of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the growth of regional economic cooperation.

The hubris was palpable, and the change from a year ago was remarkable.

"My role," he said, "is to be a diplomat, not a dreamer." He commended, in that context, the Palestinians for having made a "difficult and courageous" decision to return to the talks. He mentioned interim Palestinian self- government which would change the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis.

His ADC audience was receptive because, by now, it is increasingly clear that if the peace process breaks down, it is the Clinton administration that stands to lose, both in world opinion and in its relations with key Arab countries.

The consequences for Israel, too, would be severe. It is likely that failure would cause the Labor government of Yitzhak Rabin to fall and quite possibly bring to power the new and more intransigent Likud leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Strangely, the betting is that if there is a failure in this ninth "continuous" round of bilaterals in Washington, the Palestinian delegates stand to lose the least, because they have nothing left to lose. An end to the peace talks, in fact, might heal the split between Palestinians who participated in them, and those who rejected them.

A story circulating in Washington about Christopher's first trip abroad, which included visits to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is that he was astonished at the insistence by ruling elites in both these countries that, above everything else, he must settle the Israel-Palestine dispute. Peace between Israel on the one hand and Syria, Jordan and Lebanon on the other was a close second priority. Security in the Gulf, the favorite topic for American officials these days, is clearly a poor third in priority for all Arabs, including those from the Gulf states.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Warren Christopher)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Bird, Gene
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: AIPAC's 1993 Convention; Scuffling on the Bridge

Williams, Ian. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 14.


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Special Report: AIPAC's 1993 Convention; Scuffling on the Bridge
Imagine an ocean liner steaming due north. There is a scuffle on the bridge and, with no announcement to the passengers, the ship makes a 180-degree turn and starts sailing south. Most of the passengers don't notice. They thought that they were going that way all along. But about 20 percent look profoundly puzzled. The sun is on the wrong side, and the messages from the bridge are in a different voice, saying different things. That was the situation of 3,000 delegates to the March 20-23 Washington, DC convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC's first convention since the inauguration of its chosen candidate, President Bill Clinton.

Some of them were merely bewildered--like the one who publicly accused AIPAC Director Thomas Dine of working for the Arabs and trying to organize a PLO takeover of the organization. Others wanted to know why the PLO had been omitted from AIPAC's list of "fundamentalist terrorist" organizations like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Dine's reply that the PLO was a secular and not a fundamentalist organization was evasive. Clearly, however, the PLO is being "un-demonized.”

AIPAC's leaders do not want to be caught out by a change of policy in Israel, and this seemed quite acceptable to a majority of those attending. Most American Jews, including many AIPAC members, always have been happier with a Labor Party in power in Israel than with the unsophisticated and uncompromising Likud. They seldom said so publicly when Shamir was in power, however, to avoid accusations of breaking solidarity--by the very AIPAC leaders now furiously courting Rabin.

It was the leadership rather than the rank and file of AIPAC and other Jewish organizations which voiced enthusiastic and uncritical support for the Likud government, and thus became increasingly out of tune with the American Jews they claimed to represent. Hence the scuffle on the bridge. Some of those who were unchangeable were thrown overboard--like previous AIPAC President David Steiner, whose leaked tapes scuppered the last-ditch battle of the Likudniks to stop Warren Christopher's appointment as Clinton's secretary of state.

Christopher's arrival to speak at the convention was greeted with a prolonged standing ovation. Many delegates were grateful to him for averting threatened United Nations Security Council sanctions over Israel's refusal to repatriate immediately the 400 Palestinian Muslims it expelled last December. Above all, however, they seemed to be demonstrating their repudiation of the campaign against him by the old brigade. While his speech was ostensibly everything that they wanted to hear, there were some subtle points that delegates may have missed in their enthusiasm.

After a series of purges, the new AIPAC sounds like Peace Now itself.

Christopher reported that "every Arab leader with whom I met made it clear that they are serious about pursuing peace." That statement could be taken as a reminder that any failure to restart negotiations would not automatically be blamed on the Arab side. Similarly, he defined the limits of U.S. support for Israel in the negotiations as an "honest broker.”

"We will be there to probe positions, clarify responses, help define common ground, offer ideas and bridge differences," Christopher told the AIPAC delegates. "This is the meaning of full partnership, and it reflects our determination to work with all parties to facilitate negotiations that will take into account the needs and concerns of Israel, the Arabs and the Palestinians." (A month later, Christopher went further, and told delegates to the convention of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee that he hoped to pursue a truly "evenhanded" policy on the Middle East--which in the past Likudniks always insisted was a codeword for anti-Israel.)
Reflecting the changed mood, Dine also refused to take a stand on other issues. He temporized on the question of whether the organization should throw its weight behind the campaign for amnesty for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, and on the question of whether Americans for Peace Now should be welcomed into the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

An Especially Delicate Matter
This was an especially delicate matter. Americans for Peace Now always has been as much anti-Likud/pro-Labor as it was pro-peace. The organization has many friends in the new White House administration. It has even closer links with Rabin's government--which is publicly committed to territorial concession--so it was no great surprise when, a week later, APN was admitted to the Conference of Presidents.

Symbolizing the change at AIPAC were the two massive screens displaying the face of Yitzhak Rabin on a satellite link from Jerusalem. Rabin is no liberal peacenik but, although he hedged his speech with restrictions and small print, he was talking about concessions and compromises to an organization whose leaders, a year before, had been applauding the Likud line of no compromise on territory or on settlements. American Jews espousing views then like Rabin's now were accused of thoughtcrime by AIPAC's leaders, who had been so pro-Shamir that Rabin had given them a semi-public dressing down when he became prime minister.

However, after a series of purges, the new AIPAC sounds like Peace Now itself, which should make it more compatible with the overwhelmingly liberal American Jewish community. President Clinton was canonized in an MTV-style video promoting the organization--and of course there is little immediate chance of any tension between him and Rabin.

As a candidate, Clinton was prepared to go all the way with the Likud's intransigent Yitzhak Shamir, so Rabin's relative moderation is easily lived with. As Rabin reported to the conference, his new chum in the White House has offered to maintain Israel's foreign aid for 1994, and has even promised to raise the question of the Arab boycott of Israel at the G-7 talks.

Rabin had promised to attend the conference, which would have met AIPAC's desperate need for reassurance that it still was the Israeli government's official intermediary in Washington. However, his decision to return home early from the United States because of the worsening crisis at home was seen by some as a sign that the tensions between him and AIPAC had not completely subsided.

In fact, from the beginning the Israeli prime minister has made it clear that he should handle Israel's relations with the administration, and AIPAC should stick to Congress. Oddly, Rabin has always prided himself on his personal charm with other leaders although, as one old-guard AIPAC official pointed out sardonically, he has been thoroughly disliked by almost every president who has suffered prolonged exposure to Rabin's abrasive and egotistical style.

However, on this occasion his four-hour meeting with Clinton had not yet produced such effects on the latest U.S. president to be exposed. He reported to the convention that he returned home "with great confidence in the president of the United States and his administration, his friendliness to Israel, his readiness to assist Israel in our efforts to achieve peace and to maintain our security.”

Rabin also pointed out, however, that "peace you make not with friends, but with present enemies, and therefore there is a need to solve practical issues and to overcome psychological barriers--barriers that have been built in tens of years of violence, war, terror, hatred on both sides and backlog of negative emotions.”

It is difficult to imagine hearing such sentiments from Shamir. Indeed, a year earlier, it would have been difficult to imagine hearing such sentiments from an AIPAC platform. In concluding, Rabin tried to lessen the impact of his absence from the AIPAC podium by saying that "from time to time, we had differences, but I am sure that there is no more effective organization of American people who are ready to support, to help Israel.”

Rabin's message on the peace talks was reinforced by Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Itamar Rabinovitch, who said firmly, "Peace has to be based on compromise, but compromise has to be mutual." He concluded that, "We will have to pay a cost, and we'll have to make some concessions." When this did not get much applause, he invited the audience to "applaud the concessions that the other side will have to make." In a conciliatory mood, he thanked the Moroccan ambassador to the U.N. for his part in averting sanctions over the deportees.

With the end of the Cold War, Israel is no longer able to invoke the communist threat to justify the supply of arms and the special relationship with America. But Rabin, Dine and Rabinovitch all were united on the threat of "Islamic fundamentalism," which, they said, was "inspired, organized, and instigated by Iran." With Iran anointed the new bogeyman now that Saddam Hussain has been humbled, one would never guess that Israel was throughout the 1980s a prolific clandestine supplier of arms to the mullahs from the way in which the AIPAC speakers talked in 1993 about their former trading partner.

All were united on the threat of "Islamic fundamentalism.”

Predictably, it was implied, in a low key, but repetitively, that the World Trade Center bombing proved that the U.S. and Israel were joint targets of a great fundamentalist conspiracy. But some congressional supporters facing strong election challenges in 1994 got the message mixed up in their eagerness to please AIPAC audiences. For example, Senator Dennis DeConcini of Arizona circulated copies of the Congressional Record in which he had "recently received reports that Hamas has replaced Hezbollah as the popular violent arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organization." Hamas, he continued, was "gaining funding and training from Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.”

If AIPAC is in any way learning from its mistakes, it is not doing so in public. No one mentioned that ex-President George Bush had defied the Israel lobby on an issue of its own choosing, the loan guarantees, and had left the lobby impotent. The only reference to the subject was Thomas Dine's attempt to credit AIPAC for the fact that the first installment of the guarantees was eventually paid. He did not mention that they were paid by Bush to Rabin, after Rabin had made some of the concessions refused by Shamir. Even less did Dine mention that Rabin was only speaking at the convention because Bush's refusal to buckle to Israel lobby pressure had caused Shamir's defeat in the 1992 Israeli elections.

However, the new AIPAC president, Steven Grossman, is a different breed from the old Jewish leaders, who clawed their way to the top by dint of internal Jewish politics, big donations and professions of undying loyalty to Israel. Grossman was chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, and is not dependent on Jewish organizations for his power. It shows in his behavior. He walked the floor, talking to anyone who approached, putting some truth in the rumor that under him AIPAC would be more open and accessible.

He obviously is someone who will listened to in the White House. Unfortunately, ascendancy of the Rabin supporters is no guarantee of justice for the Palestinians--as the death rate and deportations in the territories demonstrate.

A Matter of Political Convenience
Since some AIPAC-supported members of Congress, like badly informed Senator DeConcini, use flamboyant pro-Israel rhetoric to raise funds and to defeat rivals, their interest in Israel is more a matter of political convenience than principle. In a time of federal budget cutbacks some of them may try to get extra funds for Israel, whether or not the Israeli government asks for them, thus provoking exasperation and confrontation with the White House.

Dine signaled one such issue in his speech to the convention. He said that following the Arrow interceptor missile project (for which the U.S. has sent some $300 million to Israel), "We need to ensure that the wherewithal will exist for Israel to acquire a new `boost phase interceptor' which would knock out missiles during their launch from enemy territory.”

In such cases of potential conflict, it is worth remembering that special interest levers like those AIPAC has into the administration and into Congress have two ends. When the president wants something in the Middle East, AIPAC political appointees in his administration like White House Middle East Adviser Martin Indyk will be expected to pull AIPAC into line with the White House. And with Democrats controlling both Congress and the administration, AIPAC cannot play one against the other so easily. Things may not be as clear-cut as they seem-especially since George Bush proved, as did Dwight Eisenhower long before him, that when a determined president decides to challenge AIPAC, he will have overwhelming support on the issue from an increasingly informed American public.

RECYCLE
Instead of throwing away back copies of the Washington Report, please return them to the AET Library Endowment at our address. We'll make them available to libraries seeking to replace copies missing from their back files. The taxexempt AET Library Endowment will acknowledge your shipping costs, if so requested.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Williams, Ian
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Speaking Out: Clinton Under Pressure to Grant Clemency to Pollard

Findley, Paul. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 15.


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Speaking Out: Clinton Under Pressure to Grant Clemency to Pollard
The fate of Jonathan Jay Pollard, the paid spy for Israel now serving a life sentence in prison for stealing thousands of top-secret documents while an employee of the U.S. Navy, is high on the White House priority list facing Janet Reno, President Bill Clinton's attorney general.

Reno's plate is filled with a wide assortment of tough legal challenges, but none has behind it more political firepower than the clemency plea for Israel's famous spy.

Since his presidential candidacy began two years ago, Clinton has been under heavy pressure from pro-Israel interests to release Pollard, despite the enormous damage to American security interests caused by the spy's sale of U.S. secrets to the state of Israel over a five-year period.

In a little-noted comment during the recent Washington convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the organization registered to lobby for Israel's interests, Executive Director Thomas A. Dine announced that a petition for clemency is now being examined in the U.S. Department of Justice, moving through processing so that papers will be in order if President Bill Clinton decides to release Pollard.

Dine told convention delegates that all major Jewish organizations now support Pollard's release. This may be a slight ex-aggeration, as the American Jewish Committee views Pollard as an embarrassment and has been cautious in commenting on his plight.

In a letter to Aubrey Robinson, the federal judge presiding over the Pollard trial, former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger declared that Pollard's spying had caused "irrevocable harm" to the nation's security and placed at high personal risk U.S. intelligence agents and military personnel worldwide. The documents stolen by Pollard would fill a box six feet by six feet by ten feet. Weinberger said: "The sheer volume of information [stolen] has made this one of the worst espionage cases in U.S. history.”

President Clinton has not publicly mentioned the case since assuming the presidency, but expressed sympathy for the spy during his campaign last year. The spy's sister, Carol Pollard, has been appealing for his release full-time for several years and has spoken in his behalf to more than 400 meetings of U.S. Jews. She believes Clinton will release him "when the time is right.”

While in office, President George Bush replied curtly in the negative when a reporter asked if he could commute or reduce Pollard's sentence. He ignored a public appeal signed by 560 U.S. rabbis and refused a last-minute private plea for Pollard from Yitzhak Shamir, former Israeli prime minister.

Pollard's spying caused "irrevocable harm" to the nation's security.

The Israeli government has invested more than a half-million dollars in Pollard. Beginning in 1984, it paid him $1,500 a month for stealing U.S. secret documents, then, pleased with the suitcases full of secret documents he was copying from Navy files, quickly increased the pay to $2,500 a month, with the promise that this income would continue for nine more years. Israel also provided $20,000 to finance two luxury vacations for Pollard, plus a $7,000 diamond for his wife.

In addition, according to ABC News, the Israeli government has provided most of the $2 million set aside for his legal defense. The rest comes from fund-raising appeals conducted among Jews worldwide. Part of the money was used to employ attorney Alan Dershowitz, who appealed the life sentence. Last October the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal.

According to Wolf Blitzer, author of Territory of Lies, a book about the Pollard case, the Israeli government is depositing $5,000 a month in a European bank account for his ultimate benefit. Blitzer is now the White House reporter for CNN News.

According to United Press International, information stolen by Pollard "was traded to the Soviets in return for promises to increase emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel." U.S. intelligence agents first learned of this Israeli- Soviet spy link when information stolen by Pollard was "traced to the Eastern bloc." At the time, the Cold War was still a major challenge to the United States. The Warsaw Pact still existed and governments of Eastern Europe were considered unfriendly to the United States. The Soviet Union, a major beneficiary of Pollard's spying, was America's number-one enemy.

A Markedly Different Attitude
Since Bill Clinton's inauguration, the presidential attitude toward Israel is markedly different. Under President George Bush, the United States criticized Israel for building Israeli housing in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the occupied territories and rejected Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and Syria's Golan Heights. East Jerusalem was expressly identified on several occasions as territory subject to negotiation.

A month before departing, the Bush administration voted for a United Nations resolution demanding that Israel immediately return to their homes the remaining 397 Palestinians from the 415 that Rabin had suddenly and arbitrarily expelled to a hilltop in southern Lebanon. It was hailed as a significant decision by the U.S., one of the few times in recent years when the United States has supported a United Nations rebuke of Israeli behavior. Diplomats immediately began work drafting a resolution that would impose sanctions if Israel failed to cooperate. With an eye on changes in policy that might occur after Bill Clinton's inauguration a month later, Rabin rejected the demand.

After taking office, Clinton reversed the U.S. position, immediately turning his back on the plight of the expelled Palestinians. He has since given ample evidence that the United States, after an interregnum of uncertainty under Bush, is now fully relegated to subordination to Israel. He has expressed not a word of concern about Israel's continued rapid pace of housing construction in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip or its increasingly harsh measures to suppress Palestinian protest.

When Clinton received Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House in what has to be described as a love fest, not a word was mentioned about the hapless Palestinians. Instead, Clinton assured Rabin that U.S. aid to Israel would not be cut, despite cutbacks in almost every aspect of the U.S. budget. He even promised an increase in aid if Israel works out a deal with Syria.

In this atmosphere, it will not be surprising if Pollard is suddenly set free, placed on an El Al airliner, and headed for a hero's welcome and a life of never-ending luxury and adulation in the state of Israel.

No Protest Expected on Capitol Hill
On Capitol Hill not a word of protest can be expected. The day after Pollard's highly publicized arrest occurred in 1985, a lobbyist employed by AIPAC braced himself for trouble when he began his scheduled round of appointments with congressmembers and senators on Capitol Hill. Although accustomed to friendly cooperation because of Israel's influence in Congress, the lobbyist was convinced that the legislators he met would chastise him harshly over Pollard's thievery. "I just knew it would be the first thing mentioned at every stop," the lobbyist said.

After all, he reasoned, even columnist William Safire, who normally writes only friendly things about Israel, had said of the espionage: "The Pollards in America, and their spymasters in Israel, have done more damage to their respective countries than any terrorists could dream of doing." To the lobbyist's astonishment, his appointments were uneventful: "The Pollard arrest was never once mentioned.”

With the attention of the American people focused on tumult in Russia, barbaric conduct in the former Yugoslavia, and the intense legislative scramble over the Clinton economic proposals in Washington, Pollard's release is unlikely to produce more than a blip on the television screen or a footnote in the back pages of the daily newspaper.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Jonathan Jay Pollard)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Findley, Paul
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Israelis Stunned When Death Squad Mistakenly Executes Israeli Soldier

Collins, Frank. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 16.


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Special Report: Israelis Stunned When Death Squad Mistakenly Executes Israeli Soldier
Written Israeli army rules for crowd control or riot situations permit opening fire only in life-threatening situations. An Israeli soldier must shout a warning, and fire first into the air and then at the legs. Soldiers may fire at the central body only as a last resort.

In practice, however, these rules appear to have been set aside by the army authorities. They are being completely disregarded in the field, where soldiers open fire in situations where there is no conceivable threat to life.

Michal Sela in Davar (Feb. 22, 1993) reports: "The practices in the field would not meet the standards of Wild West movies. People are being shot running away or in the back. Masked people are being shot because they are masked, stone throwers are being shot at and gatherings of people are being sprayed with gunfire. It is hard not to smile, at first, upon receiving the news of a boy from Nablus who `got shot in the bottom.' In the Wild West, the shooter would have been banned from the society of heroes. It turns out to be nothing to smile about when the hospital reports that the bullet is deeply lodged in the boy's stomach.

"There is no need to be a field researcher in order to understand the reality of the opening fire orders. It is sufficient to carefully read the announcements of Israeli army spokesman, based upon easily deciphered jargon and code.

"For example, on Thursday, Feb. 28, official sources announced that `An Arab resident was killed this morning around 11:30 a.m. by shots fired by soldiers in Allar village in the Tulkarm district. The event took place when an army unit, which was on initiated activity in the village, met with several suspect Arab residents who were escaping. The soldiers called on them to halt and when they did not respond they were fired upon. As a result, a resident of the village, aged about 17, was severely wounded. He received medical treatment from a military physician present on the scene and died shortly afterward from his wounds. . .'
"Deciphering such announcements by the military is simple: An IDF force on `initiated activity' means that the soldiers are disguised as Arabs and are on a limited and defined mission, not a routine patrol. The mission might be `capturing wanted people,' a planned ambush for stone throwers on roads where such activity might be expected, or an ambush for graffiti writers. In the case of the Allar incident, the `escaping suspects' were the target of the initiated action, which took an unexpected turn when residents detected the unit's presence in the village.

"The mission might be an ambush for graffiti writers.”

"In another killing, that of Mahmoud Al-Atrash, aged 15, from Tulkarm, the soldiers fired without warning. Israeli soldiers on initiated activity in Tulkarm refugee camp had identified two masked persons whom they suspected of being armed. The soldiers fired at them. The dead youth was not a wanted person. Any-one suspected of carrying a weapon by a unit in the field, even if the suspect is not carrying the weapon in a manner that suggests danger, may be shot without warning.”

Flagrant disregard of human rights and of their own written regulations characterizes operations of the "special units" of Israeli soldiers who dress like Arabs in order to infiltrate Palestinian communities in search of targets. It was perhaps inevitable that the callous tactics of these units would finally lead to the killing of one of their own, an Israeli soldier dressed as an Arab and mistaken for a Palestinian by his comrades.

As the victim was an Israeli soldier, the circumstances of his death were detailed extensively in Israeli newspapers, in contrast with their matter-of- fact treatment of the killings of Palestinians by army "special units." A story by Sima Kadmon in the Feb. 26 Ma'ariv was headlined, "They Killed My Son Eli as They Kill Old Horses.”

"Seven bullets were fired at First Sergeant Eli Isha. Three in the chest, two in the back and two in the head. Seven bullets. Much less is needed to kill a person. Even if he is an Arab.

"That is what his comrades in the Duvdevan unit believed when they pulled the trigger. They thought that he was an Arab. And only after he lay on the ground, his head and body full of holes, did they turn him over. In mid-July the night sky above Jenin was clear of clouds. In the moonlight, the soldiers of the unit saw immediately that they had killed their comrade.

"`They killed him like they kill horses,' says Na'ama, Isha's sister. And Nissim, his father, says: `Yes, like you would a horse. I remember from Western movies I used to see how they would kill a horse faltering in the desert. They would shoot and shoot until it would fall. And then they would fire a final shot into the head. And that, exactly like that, is how they killed my son. . .'“

"The next morning Lt. Col. A., the unit commander, sat down with Eli Isha's father. He said that the commander of the operation did not contact several of the fighters in order to inform them of the change in Eli's position in the course of the operation. He spoke in the third person and said that was the cause of the mistake in identification and that was the reason he was shot at. He also said that the commander who made the mistake would pay for it. `Only he did not say,' says Na'ama, `that he was the commander of the operation and he was speaking about himself.'“

The Details Become Clear
"The details became clear in the course of the seven-day mourning period. . . `It was an initiated action,' says Na'ama. `Such an action is planned at least 24 hours prior to implementation.'
"The unit worked according to an aerial photo which was not updated. According to that photo, there was only one exit from the mosque, while in fact there were three exits. In the briefing before the operation, the fighters were told that they would work in teams. They were disguised as Arabs and needed some code for identification. Then one of the teams was delayed. Eli was separated from his team and was sent alone instead.

"`But the minute he was alone,' Na'ama says, `he as an individual became a wanted person. And besides, when the unit commander decided to send him as an individual, he knew that he might not be able to report the change to the other fighters. So how did he make a life-endangering decision?'
"After a seven-and-one-half month delay, the army decided not to bring the unit commander to trial for his actions. The chief military attorney claimed that it was a case of `borderline neglect by a commander.'“

The failure of the army to bring charges in this case involving the death of an Israeli soldier gives some indication of the hopelessness of pursuing charges against a death squad for the summary execution of a Palestinian.

According to Dr. Israel Shahak, the Israeli journalist and Holocaust survivor who supplied the translations quoted above: "Further inquiries by the Hebrew press (not denied by any authority) have established that the killing of Isha was carried out according to the normal procedure now used by combat units of the Israeli army, called a `certification of death' (`veedoo hamavet' in Hebrew), according to which wounded enemies are routinely shot in the head.”

In response to an inquiry by the Washington Report, a spokesman for the U.S. Army said that there is no American Army regulation that allows such a finishing off of a wounded enemy soldier. He added, "It would be against the International War Crimes Convention.”

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Collins, Frank
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Update: It's now the ADL Spy Case

Marshall, Rachelle. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 17.


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Update: It's Now the ADL Spy Case
The investigation of a former San Francisco policeman suspected of keeping illegal files on members of Arab-American, anti-apartheid and other political groups turned into the "ADL Spy Case" in early April, when revelations about the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League's nationwide intelligence operation became front page news in the Bay Area. Police officials who searched the San Francisco and Los Angeles offices of the organization on April 8 found evidence that ADL has employed undercover operators in at least seven major cities to gather information on thousands of individuals and groups ranging across the political spectrum, from Greenpeace, the Arab-American Democratic Club, the NAACP, the Mandela Welcoming Committee and the United Farm Workers to white supremacy and anti-Semitic groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Youth for Hitler.

Although its spokesmen insist that ADL's only purpose is to "counteract bigotry and prejudice," ADL's operatives also kept files on at least eight Jewish peace groups, Mills College, the Northern California Ecumenical Council and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Arab Americans were a special target of the undercover operation. San Francisco Police Inspector Ronald Roth said in an affidavit released after the search that ADL had driver's license and motor vehicle registration information on some 15 percent of the members of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, as well as records on thousands of other Arab Americans.

On April 14, 19 Bay Area citizens filed a class action suit charging that ADL and two of its investigators had violated their privacy by illegally obtaining their personal records from government sources. The suit was filed by attorney Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey, Jr., a former congressman who was himself the subject of a file. One of the plaintiffs is Yigal Arens, son of former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens. Arens, a professor of computer science at the University of Southern California, is a member of the Jewish Committee on the Middle East, which favors a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "ADL believes that anyone who is an Arab American or who speaks politically against Israel is at least a closet anti-Semite," Arens said.

Other plaintiffs include Carol El-Shaieb, president of the Santa Clara County Arab American Democratic Club; Audrey Shabbas, a Berkeley educator; and Amal Barkouki-Winter, president of the board of trustees of West Valley-Mission Community College District. "None of us is guilty of racism or Nazism or anti- Semitism or other `isms' that ADL claims to protect us against," El-Shaieb said, maintaining that she and others were targeted solely because of their support for Palestinian causes.

ADL has employed under-cover operators in at least seven major cities.

Two days after the suit was filed, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Anastasia Steinberg resigned from the ADL board of directors, saying she was concerned about "the appearance of conflict of interest." Steinberg had earlier prepared a report for the Santa Clara district attorney and is believed to have known about ADL's spy operation since January.

The apparently close relationship between ADL and law enforcement officials is an especially troubling aspect of the case. The San Francisco Examiner reported on April 1 that ADL was supplied with information by law enforcement agencies across the country, including the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and local police departments. ADL employed its own agents in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, Washington and Atlanta, as well as San Francisco. Arab Americans in Los Angeles have demanded an investigation of ADL's ties with the Los Angeles Police Department, which originally refused to cooperate in the investigation of the ADL and was not asked to take part in the April 8 search by San Francisco authorities of ADL's Los Angeles office.

The case originally came to light when investigators revealed that former San Francisco policeman Tom Gerard had collected information on some 12,000 individuals and groups, much of it obtained from records he had taken home when the city's police intelligence unit was disbanded in 1990. His files contained extensive data on local Arab Americans, none of whom was suspected of criminal activity. Gerard has admitted that he shared his information with Roy Bullock, who for nearly 40 years has conducted spying operations for ADL. The two men sold some of their information to the South African government for $16,000 and may also have sold or given information to Israel's intelligence agency, Mossad.

According to a Los Angeles Times story of April 9, Bullock worked as a paid informant for the FBI as well as ADL. When the FBI learned of his dealings with South Africa, it began an investigation of him that eventually led to the discovery of ADL's intelligence network. Last fall the Bureau turned the investigation over to San Francisco authorities because it feared having to reveal government secrets if the case were tried at the federal level.

The 400-page affidavit released by the San Francisco police after the April 8 search accused ADL of "misuse of confidential government information and the invasion of privacy of over 1,000 persons." ADL could also face up to 48 felony counts for failing to report Bullock's employment while paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 25 years. Inspector Roth accused ADL employees of being "less than truthful with regard to the employment of Bullock and other matters." ADL attorney Barbara Wahl claims Bullock was an independent contractor and that the organization has been unfairly scapegoated for actions committed by members of the police. But the way Bullock was paid had all the earmarks of a laundering operation.

All the Earmarks of Laundering
According to the police affidavit, Bullock received direction from San Francisco ADL Executive Director Richard Hirschaut as well as from ADL's research director in New York, Irwin Saull. But he was paid with cashier's checks drawn by Los Angeles attorney Bruce Hochman, a former head of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation Council. ADL funneled the money for these checks to David Lehrer, ADL executive director in Los Angeles, who maintained a secret bank account for the sole purpose of paying Bullock and other informants. A checkbook for the account in the false name of "L. Patterson" was kept in a locked safe at ADL's Los Angeles headquarters.

Paymaster Hochman served as a federal prosecutor until 1990 and was a member of a panel that advised Governor Pete Wilson on candidates for federal judgeships. He may have helped select Judge Bruce Einhorn, an active ADL member who is currently presiding over the deportation trial of two Palestinians in Los Angeles. Einhorn has refused to recuse himself from the case even though ADL provided information to the FBI on the defendants and six others before their arrest in 1987.

At a press conference on April 16, ADL attorney Wahl and two national officials of the organization denied that ADL had financed illegal spying operations but acknowledged that a review of its "fact-finding activities" was underway "to ensure that we continue to operate in an appropriate and altogether legal manner." Wahl also said ADL had no knowledge of Bullock's dealings with South Africa and "wouldn't have liked that if we had known." But when she was asked why Bullock had spied on assassinated African National Congress leader Chris Hani during a 1991 trip to Los Angeles, she replied, "I have no comment." Despite international sanctions against South Africa, Israel has long had close military and commercial ties with the apartheid regime, so it would not be out of line for an ADL employee to spy on anti-apartheid activists.

In view of the accumulating evidence against ADL, the case took a surprising turn on April 24 when members of the San Francisco Police Commission, which has been charged with reviewing the intelligence-gathering operation against local citizens, said the commission's investigation would be limited to Gerard and not extend to Bullock and the ADL. Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett told the San Francisco Examiner that "to go beyond Gerard is not within our jurisdiction," but others close to the investigation suggested the commissioners had come under pressure from ADL and its supporters. Police Chief Tony Ribera admitted that a prominent Jewish city official, Chief of Protocol Richard Goldman, had called him to say that many Jews were feeling "anxiety" about the case.

Christine Toteh, vice president of the Arab-American Democratic Club, suspects a whitewash. "Obviously this police officer, Gerard, was sharing information with a private investigator, Bullock, and a private organization, the ADL," she commented. "They're going to put the fall on Gerard but he was just a peon in this thing." Toteh also pointed out that at least one member of the commission, Katherine Feinstein, is a member of ADL. Arab Americans and others are now wondering whether people who may have been spied on by Bullock for ADL can gain access to ADL files.

The full-scale investigation by the San Francisco district attorney of Gerard, Bullock, and the ADL is expected to continue, but given ADL's skill at covering up its operations, plus the sensitive issue of widescale police involvement, it will be several months, if ever, before all the facts are revealed. Meanwhile the case has exposed a disturbing characteristic of mainstream Jewish organizations.

A Disturbing Characteristic
For much of its 80-year history, ADL was in the forefront of American human rights groups, defending the rights of all minorities. But in recent years, ADL, like other prominent Jewish groups, has made the defense of Israel's interests its top priority. As a result, much of its effort now goes toward silencing critics of Israel, through tactics such as blacklists, spying, and pressure on the news media, that directly contradict ADL's original principles. (ADL's identification with Israel is so strong that the head of ADL's Society of Fellows in San Francisco, Norman Schlossberg, asserted in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin that "the police invasion of the ADL offices during Passover week reminds one of the Yom Kippur war.")
Under the leadership of research director Nathan Perlmutter in the 1980s, ADL came to regard as anti-Semitic anyone who opposed Israeli policies or, by extension, the military and foreign policies of the pro-Israel Reagan administration. In his book The Real Anti-Semitism in America, Perlmutter included under this new definition church groups and others who opposed U.S. military interventions abroad, claiming the "real" anti-Semites are those who "give war a bad name and peace too favorable a press.”

By insisting on uncritical support for Israel, mainstream Jewish leaders have also come into conflict with people who oppose violations of human rights wherever they occur and who see the Palestinians as victims of oppression. Cornel West, director of Princeton's Afro-American Studies Program, discussed the rift between Blacks and Jews in the April 14 edition of The New York Times. Among its causes, he wrote, is the fact that "Blacks often perceive Jewish defense of Israel. . .as an abandonment of substantive moral deliberation. When mainstream American Jewish organizations supported the inhuman policies of Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir they tipped their hats toward cold-hearted interest-group calculations.”

The list of ADL's targets of suspicion indicates that the need to defend Israel at all costs leads inevitably to the creation of a broader and broader array of perceived enemies--in effect to institutionalize paranoia. During a recent broadcast on the ADL case over a San Francisco public radio station, several people called in to say that ADL's spying was justified because it "protected the Jewish community" from possible terrorism. In response, ACLU attorney John Crew reminded listeners that "the pursuit of goals, however laudable they seem, doesn't mean you can throw out the law, or that it does't apply to you." The exchange carried echoes of the 1950s, when right-wing zealots tried to silence dissent in the name of national security.

The attempt to label groups and individuals as suspected wrongdoers can have a chilling effect on legitimate political activity, especially when loss of a job or a promotion could be at stake. An April 16 news story in the San Francisco Chronicle described the subjects of Bullock's spying activities as "political extremists, racists, and anti-Semites." In fact, these labels apply to only a handful of the thousands of individuals listed in Bullock's files. The rest, including hundreds of law-abiding Arab Americans, Blacks and Asian Americans, have nevertheless come under suspicion. It is no wonder that Maha Jaber, San Francisco chapter coordinator for the American-Arab Anti- Discrimination Committee, concluded, "It's scary.”

Living Under Israeli Occupation
The toll of human rights violations by Israeli forces since Dec. 9, 1987:

Deaths 1,137
Injuries requiring hospitalization 121,246*
Expulsions 483
Administrative detentions 15,320+
Curfews (areas with 10,000+population under 24-hour curfew) 11,151
(Plus almost constant curfews over entire West Bank and
Gaza from Jan. 16-Feb. 28, 1991)
Land confiscation (acres) 87,741
House demolitions/sealings 2,072
Tree uprootings 130,411
Source: Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Jerusalem/Washington, (202) 686-5116. Preliminary figures through Jan. 31, 1992.

* Estimated number
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Marshall, Rachelle
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Other Side of the Coin: The Changing Role of B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League

Lillenthal, Alfred M. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 18.


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The Other Side of the Coin: The Changing Role of B'nai B'rith's Anti- Defamation League
Following an April raid on the offices of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) by the San Francisco police, the San Francisco Chronicle broke the story of a nationwide political spy operation. ADL had illegally obtained information from a corrupt police officer, Tom Gerard (who fled initially to the Philippines, which has no extradition treaty with the U.S., but later concluded his life was in danger if he stayed overseas), and Roy Bullock, a political informant and infiltrator on the ADL payroll since 1960. In the ADL offices were files on Arab Americans and members of Greenpeace, NAACP, the Mills College faculty and various other institutions, groups and individuals.

B'nai B'rith, ADL's parent organization, was founded in 1843 as a Jewish counterpart of fraternal orders then flourishing in America. The new group's purpose, as described in its constitution, called for the traditional functions performed by Jewish societies in Europe: "Visiting and attending the sick" and "protecting and assisting the widow and the orphan." Its founders had hoped that it soon would encompass all Jews in the United States. This did not happen, however, since other Jewish organizations also were forming around the same time.

In 1913 Leo Frank, a northern Jewish executive of a factory in Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested and charged with the murder of a young girl working in the factory. In an atmosphere of mob fury, he was declared guilty, even though the evidence was inconclusive. He was kidnapped from state prison and lynched. This obvious miscarriage of justice and manifestation of prejudice led to the formation by B'nai B'rith of the ADL as the first group organized explicitly to fight anti-Semitism. What exactly constituted anti-Semitism was to receive continually different interpretations. With the creation of Israel in 1948, the meaning of that word was broadened and, eventually, totally distorted.

Because it dealt with a subject of increasing importance to Jews everywhere, and one about which emotions could be aroused easily, the ADL soon emerged as the most powerful Jewish organization in the U.S., even outshining its B'nai B'rith parent organization and the aristocratic, well-financed American Jewish Committee.

Benjamin Epstein and Arnold Forster, ADL's two most important executives over a 35-year period, wrote a number of widely distributed books, which often received front-page notice even before they were published. These included The Trouble Makers (Doubleday, 1952); Cross Currents (Doubleday, 1956); Some of My Best Friends (Farrar Strauss, 1962); A Danger on the Right (Random House, 1964); Report on the John Birch Society (Random House, 1966); and The Radical Right (Random House, 1967).

ADL can exert enormous influence and intimidation.

The direction which the organization was to take was made clear in the initial book, which described a "secret meeting" between Azzam Pasha, then secretary-general of the Arab League, and members of a new organization, the Holy Land Emergency Program (HELP), organized to assist the newly created Palestinian refugees. The book charged that a conspiracy was hatched at the meeting to spread anti-Jewish propaganda. In fact, no such meeting ever took place. At the time of the alleged meeting, HELP already had ceased to exist.

At the very outset of the Palestine question, the Anti-Defamation League's publication, The Facts, sought to place an anti-Semitic label on the activities of such friends of justice for the dispossessed in Palestine as Barnard College Dean Virginia Gildersleeve, U.S. presidential emissary Kermit Roosevelt, and former American University of Beirut President Bayard Dodge.(1) The publication's May 1948 issue charged: "Their espousal of the Arab League cause and opposition to Zionism has been marked by the increasingly hostile attitude toward the Jewish people themselves. While anti-Zionism and sympathy for the Arab cause are not necessarily indications of anti-Semitic prejudice, there are many whose pro-Arab utterances and activities have contained sufficiently expressed or implied anti-Semitism to give cause for genuine alarm.”

This same strategy to discredit critics of Israel or defenders of Palestinian human rights has been employed by the ADL ever since. "Guilt by association" and "guilt by juxtaposition"--intermingling the names of those who might more accurately be deemed sincere critics of specific policies of Israel or its U.S. lobbyists with those of notorious bigots like Father Coughlin or Gerald L. K. Smith--have become hallmarks of ADL publications and public pronouncements. By using smear tactics to intimidate or discredit opponents, ADL has largely succeeded in impressing its will and interpretation of Middle East events on American public opinion.

The ADL has some 31 regional offices around the country and three in Canada, with an annual budget of more than $32 million. It employs a professional staff of 400, including specialists in human relations, communications, education, urban affairs, social sciences, religion and law. In addition, it has unpaid representatives in hundreds of communities from coast to coast and has compiled thousands of secret dossiers on private citizens in Canada and the United States.

"Notorious" Activities
In 1983, the ADL released a handbook, Pro-Arab Propaganda in America: Vehicles and Voices, projected to be the first in a regularly updated series. Individuals or organizations who voiced the slightest criticism of Israel or Zionism found themselves listed in this volume with a list of their "notorious" activities. All were portrayed as extremists seeking to abolish the state of Israel and/or incite prejudice against Jewish Americans.

Each regional ADL office has its own board of directors drawn from local leaders and prominent citizens, some of them non-Jews. In hundreds of communities throughout the nation, according to its own pamphlet, "The ADL is able to cooperate as a neighbor to solve important local problems." Through its multiple private and public reports and publications, allegedly directed against prejudice and bigotry, the ADL can exert enormous influence and intimidation, often bordering on blackmail, in organizations and individuals, particularly people in public life. It provides an indispensable backup for AIPAC's effective lobbying of the Congress and White House on behalf of an ever-increasing economic and military aid to Israel.

As I pointed out in one of my books, The Zionist Connection I (and II), several ADL leaders, including directors Forster and Epstein, Seymour Graubard and the late Dore Schary (playwright, producer and influential figure in Hollywood), have boasted of ADL's use of undercover agents. Trying to be as inoffensive as possible, Newsweek magazine called the ADL's methodology "highly selective" and "never a total portrait." Anyone reviewing the ADL's reports would have to agree with author and famed Unitarian minister Dr. John Nicholls Booth that the ADL continually "strains to fit the products of its own espionage into the procrustean bed of its own personal predilections.”

Many ADL charges against critics of Israel and Zionism are totally inaccurate, questionable, or based upon half-truths. Its secret and confidential reports, widely distributed in liberal circles, often attribute the stock quotation, "but some of my best friends are Jews," to its subjects, implying anti-Semitism. Odious impressions are created by twisting or distorting a few words, or the context in which they were uttered.

With the help of the ADL and the plethora of Zionist and pro-Israel groups with which it cooperates, Israeli intelligence has continued to penetrate into every part of the U.S. The Pollard case represented only the apex of this activity. Even synagogues and rabbis have become unpaid vigilantes in the effort to compile files and lists of alleged anti-Semites, and to obtain any information of possible use to Israel or its U.S. operatives. A cynical Pentagon joke was that confidential military memos had to be typed in triplicate: "One for the White House, one for the State Department, and one for Tel Aviv.”

A New Definition of Anti-Semitism
In The New Anti-Semitism, Forster and Epstein's seventh and final book, a new and stunningly broad definition of anti-Semitism was set forth:

"The hostility of the Radical Left, the Radical Right, pro-Arab groups, black extremists, and malingering anti-Jewish hatemongering that has plagued the United States since the early '20s has allegedly now been augmented by others within the government, the media, the clergy and the arts who are insensitive to Jews and Jewish concerns, particularly to the needs and wants of the state of Israel. The heart of the new anti-Semitism abroad in our land lies in the widespread incapacity or unwillingness to comprehend the necessity of the existence of Israel to Jewish safety and survival throughout the world.”

In his foreword to the tract, national ADL Chairman Seymour Graubard laid the groundwork for the kind of tactics recognizable in the current revelations from San Francisco:

"While the memory of the Nazi Holocaust was fresh in mind, anti-Semitism was silenced. As that memory fades, however, as Jews are more and more being considered a part of the Establishment, there are new growths of anti-Semitism. They are being nurtured in a climate of general insensitivity and deterioration of morality and ethics, the kind of climate, history reminds us, in which anti- Semitism grows best.”

The ADL was ever ready to apply the smear and vilification so as to censure and silence, thus building an iron curtain over America that would bar any criticism, however constructive, of Israel, Zionists, or Jews (Judaism is rarely, if ever, involved). The book from which the quotations above were taken led New York Post columnist James Wechsler, a long-time, avid friend of Israel, to write that the latest ADL work "is grievously flavored by an intolerance of their own in equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism." Calling the presentation "illegitimate and uncivil," the columnist decried a work which "proceeds from a well-documented dissection of the frenzies of an obvious anti- Semite, Gerald L. K. Smith, to a loose indictment of Senator J. William Fulbright and columnists Evans and Novak. They do not explicitly apply the label `anti-Semitic' to the latter three. But the context in which the attack appears--indeed their inclusion in the volume--carries, to borrow their words, `an unmistakable message' and an inescapable `innuendo.'“

It can be said without exaggeration that the ADL is the single most influential organization in the United States. It works closely with the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, and sometimes with the FBI or CIA. Through its multifold activities and ability to crush dissent, it is probably more responsible for American attitudes and American foreign policy toward the Middle East than any other single force.

The annual Washington conferences of the parent organization, B'nai B'rith, draw the presence of presidents and presidential aspirants. No politician with national ambitions will forego the opportunity of doing public battle with the specter of Adolf Hitler. At these conferences, however, ADL itself maintains the lowest possible profile. Few of these same politicians are prepared to associate themselves with its violations of the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, and the letter of America's Bill of Rights.

NOTE:

(1.) Its January-February 1957 issue devoted its four pages to detailing the "noxious" and varied activities of this writer following the publication of What Price Israel? three years earlier.

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Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Lillenthal, Alfred M
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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This Month in History: The Assault on the USS Liberty Still Covered Up After 26 Years

Ennes, James M, Jr. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 19.


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This Month in History: The Assault on the USS Liberty Still Covered Up After 26 Years
Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.

There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship.

Israeli Pilot Speaks Up
Fifteen years after the attack, an Israeli pilot approached Liberty survivors and then held extensive interviews with former Congressman Paul N. (Pete) McCloskey about his role. According to this senior Israeli lead pilot, he recognized the Liberty as American immediately, so informed his headquarters, and was told to ignore the American flag and continue his attack. He refused to do so and returned to base, where he was arrested.

Later, a dual-citizen Israeli major told survivors that he was in an Israeli war room where he heard that pilot's radio report. The attacking pilots and everyone in the Israeli war room knew that they were attacking an American ship, the major said. He recanted the statement only after he received threatening phone calls from Israel.

The pilot's protests also were heard by radio monitors in the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon. Then-U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dwight Porter has confirmed this. Porter told his story to syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak and offered to submit to further questioning by authorities. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. government has any interest in hearing these first-person accounts of Israeli treachery.

Key members of the Lyndon Johnson administration have long agreed that this attack was no accident. Perhaps most outspoken is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer. "I can never accept the claim that this was a mistaken attack," he insists.

Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk is equally outspoken, calling the attack deliberate in press and radio interviews. Similarly strong language comes from top leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency (some of whose personnel were among the victims), National Security Council, and from presidential advisers such as Clark Clifford, Joseph Califano and Lucius Battle.

A top-secret analysis of Israel's excuse conducted by the Department of State found Israel's story to be untrue. Yet Israel and its defenders continue to stand by their claim that the attack was a "tragic accident" in which Israel mistook the most modern electronic surveillance vessel in the world for a rusted-out 40-year-old Egyptian horse transport.

Despite the evidence, no U.S. administration has ever found the courage to defy the Israeli lobby by publicly demanding a proper accounting from Israel.

How Does Congress React to These Complaints?

Most members of Congress respond to inquiries about the Liberty with seemingly sympathetic promises to "investigate." Weeks or months later they write again to report their "findings": "The Navy investigated in 1967 and found no evidence that the attack was deliberate," they say. "Israel apologized, calling the attack a tragic case of misidentification, and paid damages for loss of life, injuries and property damage. The matter is closed.”

The fact is, however, that the Navy's "investigation" examined only the quality of the crew's training, the adequacy of communications and the performance of the crew under fire. The Navy was forbidden to examine Israeli culpability and Navy investigators refused to allow testimony showing that the attack was deliberate or that Israel's excuse was untrue.

The Navy blocked all testimony about Israeli actions.

Instead of determining whether the attack was deliberate, the Navy blocked all testimony about Israeli actions. No survivor was permitted to describe the close-in machine-gun fire that continued for 40 minutes after Israel claims all firing stopped. No survivor was allowed to talk about the life rafts the Israeli torpedomen machine-gunned in the water. No survivor was permitted to challenge defects and fabrications in Israel's story. Even my eyewitness testimony as officer-of-the-deck was withheld from the official record. No evidence of Israeli culpability was "found" because no such testimony was allowed. To survivors, this was not an investigation. It was a cover-up.

Congress Goes Through the Motions
Occasionally a member of Congress will seem to probe a bit deeper, as Ted Kennedy once did. In response to requests, Kennedy asked Liberty survivors and others for input, which his staff then "studied" for more than a year.

Kennedy asked no questions, conducted no interviews, and showed no curiosity about the many discrepancies in Israel's story. Then Kennedy reported his "findings" in a letter to survivors. Carefully avoiding the circumstances of the attack, Kennedy's letter deplored the "tragic circumstances and loss of life" and declared that the facts about the Liberty must be uncovered "to the maximum extent humanly possible.”

That letter, however, represented Kennedy's maximum effort. Appeals to Kennedy for some real help go unanswered.

The Quest Goes On
The best forum in the '90s for this story and related stories of the Middle East may well be electronic mail, the complex of computer and electronic mail systems that now span the globe.

For instance, the USS Liberty and the Middle East are hot topics in the "Prodigy interactive computer service" run by Sears and IBM. With over 2 million members, Prodigy's "Israel" forums guarantee some lively and often bitter debates.

Unfortunately, the playing field often seems uneven. The cover-up side heavily outnumbers its critics, and is allowed tactics rarely tolerated from others. Criticism of Israeli policies is seen as "attacks on the Jewish homeland." Pro-Israel debaters charge that Israel's critics are "disciples of hate," and "pathological haters of Israel and all things Jewish.”

The language gets worse. Prodigy allows Israel's critics to be called "sodomists," and "derriere bussing anti-Semites." The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which prints an update on progress toward a congressional investigation every year on the June anniversary of the tragedy, comes in for special vitriol. The magazine is described almost daily as "a hate rag." Yet Prodigy's censors often reject even mild and factual rebuttals of such charges as "insulting.”

Despite a near media blackout, and such invective directed at publications that defy it, Americans do continue to support the USS Liberty and its survivors' association. Late last year the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 560 in Zimmerman, Minnesota, raised over $12,000 to create a rest stop and picnic area on donated land near a major highway as a memorial to the men who died on the Liberty. This makes the 29th public memorial to the USS Liberty.

The memorial area and an inscribed granite stone were appropriately dedicated in a ceremony attended by survivors, VFW members, Mayor Randy Hanson, and Liberty's heroic Congressional Medal of Honor-winning skipper, Captain William McGonagle, among others.

Inspired by community support, members of Post 560 are now telling the USS Liberty story to every VFW post in Minnesota. Member Stan Wuolle tells us that after they cover all of Minnesota, they will start on Wisconsin and the Dakotas.

In New York, meanwhile, Korean War veteran John Everts learned about the attack just last year and was similarly moved. Everts inspired two Korean vets groups in which he is active, "The Chosin Few" and "The Korean War Veterans" Kivlehan Chapter, to write more than 100 letters to Congress seeking the investigation that survivors still are denied.

To date, no member of Congress has risked re-election chances by agreeing publicly to Evert's request. No one really expected that to happen. But efforts like these help members of Congress and the American public remember that Israel attacked the USS Liberty deliberately and then lied about it. Sooner or later, Americans will insist that their government and their representatives in Congress find out why.

About James Ennes' Assault on the Liberty
"I've never read a more graphic depiction of war and its effects at sea...an insider's book by an honest participant.”

--Author Seymour Hersh
"If this book received more attention, U.S. policies in the Middle East might be better balanced and more successful.”

--Former U.S. Senator Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.

"Searing heat and terrible noise came suddenly from everywhere. Heat came first, and it was heat--not cannon fire--that caused me to turn away. An explosion tossed our gunners high in the air-spinning, broken, like rag dolls. We were being pounded by a deadly barrage of aircraft cannon and rocket fire.

"A solid blanket of force threw me against a railing. My arm held me up while the attacker passed overhead, followed by a loud swoosh, then silence. I seemed to be the only one left standing as the jet disappeared astern of us. Around me, scattered about carelessly, men squirmed helplessly, like wounded animals--wide-eyed, terrified, not understanding what had happened.”

--From Assault on the Liberty
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Ennes, James M, Jr
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Twenty-Six Years Ago This Month: How LBJ's Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers

Halsell, Grace. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 20.


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Twenty-Six Years Ago This Month: How LBJ's Vietnam War Paralyzed His Mideast Policymakers
In the summer of 1967, I was a staff writer for President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House. I was aware of that year's Middle East crisis but, like most Americans, understood little about it other than the fact that it involved Jews and Arabs. In that year I did not know a single Arab, and possibly LBJ did not either. Like most Americans, I was pro-Israel, Israel having been sold to most all of us as the underdog.

Everyone around me, without exception, was pro-Israel. Johnson had a dozen or more close associates and aides who were both Jewish and pro-Israel. There were Walt Rostow at the White House, his brother Eugene at State, and Arthur Goldberg, ambassador to the United Nations. Other pro-Israel advisers included Abe Fortas, associate justice of the Supreme Court; Democratic Party fund-raiser Abraham Feinberg; White House counsels Leo White and Jake Jacobsen; White House writers Richard Goodwin and Ben Wattenberg; domestic affairs aide Larry Levinson; and John P. Roche, known as Johnson's intellectual-in-residence and an avid supporter of Israel.

Everyone around me, without exception, was pro-Israel.

I did not "know," but could sense, that events of great portent were transpiring. I heard rumors of CIA Director Richard Helms sending a warning to LBJ that the Israelis were about to attack, and the president getting word from Moscow that if the Israelis attacked any Arab country, the Soviets would go to that nation's defense.

I could see the comings and goings of Abe Fortas and Arthur Goldberg, and I knew that Walt Rostow, in particular, had close Israeli connections, and met frequently with Israeli Embassy Minister Ephraim (Eppy) Evron.

On occasion I saw a strikingly attractive blonde woman who, I learned, was an ardent supporter of Israel and a woman of whom the president was fond. Her background sounded like material from a spy novel. She was born Mathilde Galland in 1927 in Italy, where she was reared as a Roman Catholic. Then, when her family returned to her father's birthplace in Switzerland, she became a Lutheran.

While a student in Geneva, she fell in love with a young Bulgarian Jew, David Danon, who had been brought up in Palestine and exiled by the British for his association with the Irgun Zvai Leumi, a Jewish terrorist group led by Menachem Begin. Danon was studying to become a medical doctor, but spent most of his time recruiting and carrying out secret Irgun operations throughout Western Europe.

In later interviews with former Time reporter Donald Neff, Mathilde said that as a teenager she saw Danon as a dashing and heroic figure, an activist dedicating his life to the founding of a Jewish state in Palestine. He was a personal friend of the Stern Gang terrorists, led by Yitzhak Shamir, who killed British resident minister Lord Walter Moyne in Cairo during World War II, and the Irgun terrorists who blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, with heavy loss of life. As bloody as these actions were, Mathilde said, she saw them as heroic. They represented the depth of the convictions of Danon and the Irgunists--and drew her to them.

Mathilde became so enamored of the Jewish struggle and of Danon's daring undercover operations in Europe that she converted to Judaism and married Danon. Then she, too, became an Irgun agent.

Reporter Neff, in his book entitled Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East, documents Mathilde's role as a young "gun-runner" for the Jewish terrorist group. "As a seemingly innocent petite and pretty blonde out for a bicycle ride along Switzerland's borders," wrote Neff, "she in reality was taking messages and explosives into neighboring France and Italy"-- to be passed on to the Irgunists.

Five years after the creation of Israel obviated the need for pretty blonde gun-runners, Mathilde received a Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Geneva in 1953. She and Danon then moved to Israel, where she became a cancer researcher at the Weizmann Institute. After the birth of a daughter, she and Danon separated. While still at Weizmann, however, she met and later married the rich--and 20 years her senior--Arthur Krim, a motion picture executive who became finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee.

American Jews such as Krim and Abraham Feinberg--a New York banker and the first Jew to become a prominent money-raiser in presidential campaigns-- were by then bringing in well over half of the Democratic Party's funds. Thus it was natural that such fund-raisers would become very important to many Democratic candidates--and particularly to the leader of the Democratic Party-- Lyndon B. Johnson.

LBJ often invited the Krims to his Texas ranch. There also were many instances in which Arthur and Mathilde were guests at the White House, and other times when, for many days running, Mathilde--without her husband--was a guest there. The Krims built a house near the LBJ ranch--known as Mathilde's house--and Johnson often traveled there by helicopter.

Advice and Counsel
The Krims, as well as other Jewish Americans who were closely associated with Johnson, advised and counseled him on the events leading up to the Six-Day War of June 1967. On the Memorial Day weekend in May 1967, Mathilde and her husband were guests at the LBJ ranch. On arrival at the ranch, Johnson learned that the Soviets had warned the U.S. that if Israel attacked an Arab state, the Soviets would go to the aid of that state. The State Department was preparing a message for LBJ to send to Israel.

While awaiting the draft message, Johnson got behind the wheel of his Lincoln Continental and took Mathilde and Arthur Krim for a drive over the hill country. They were at a neighbor's house when an aide brought Johnson a message drafted by the State Department for Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. It relayed to Israel Moscow's warning that "if Israel starts military action, the Soviet Union will extend help to the attacked party.”

After reassuring Eshkol of America's interest in Israel's safety, the draft message cautioned: "It is essential that Israel not take any preemptive military action and thereby make itself responsible for the initiation of hostilities." The president strengthened the warning by adding two words so that the sentence read, "It is essential that Israel JUST MUST NOT take any preemptive military action. . .”

On June 3, Johnson traveled to New York to deliver a speech at a Democratic Party fund-raising dinner. He moved on to a $1,000-a-plate dinner dance, sponsored by the President's Club of New York, whose chairman was Arthur Krim. While at the table, fund-raiser Abe Feinberg leaned over the shoulder of Mathilde Krim, seated next to Johnson, and whispered: "Mr. President, it [Israel's attack] can't be held any longer. It's going to be within the next 24 hours.”

On June 4, Johnson went to the home of his close adviser and friend, Justice Abe Fortas. The following day, June 5, Rostow woke Johnson with a phone call at 4:30 a.m. "War has broken out," Rostow said. The Israelis had attacked Egypt and Syria.

Mathilde Krim was a guest at the White House and, before going to the Oval Office, and apparently before waking Lady Bird or notifying anyone else, Johnson dropped by the bedroom where Mathilde was sleeping and gave her the news: "The war has started.”

At 7:45 a.m., Johnson talked--for the first time--on the hot line with Moscow. Soviet Premier Aleksi Kosygin expressed the hope that the United States would restrain Israel. Both leaders vowed to work for a cease-fire.

On that day--June 5, 1967--I walked the White House corridors as the telephone lines and news tickers recorded developments of the first morning of the war that would change the Middle East. I learned that in the war's first hours, Israeli planes had destroyed the air forces of both Egypt and Syria on the ground.

Unconcealable Glee
Several U.S. officials in a State Department Operations Room briefing could not conceal their glee over Israel's successes. With a wide smile, Eugene Rostow said, "Gentlemen, gentlemen, do not forget that we are neutral in word, thought and deed.”

At the State Department's noon briefing on June 5, press spokesman Robert J. McCloskey repeated those words for reporters. (Since the U.S. was not neutral but totally supportive of Israel, however, this statement would need-- over the next several weeks--endless clarification.)
Also on June 5, Arthur Krim wrote a memo to the president saying: "Many arms shipments are packed and ready to go to Israel, but are being held up. It would be helpful if these could be released." Johnson got the shipments on their way.

Walt Rostow, in a memo to the president, referred to the results of Israel's surprise attack on Egypt and Syria as "the first day's turkey shoot." On June 6, in another memo to the president, Walt Rostow recommended that the Israelis not be forced to withdraw from the territories they had seized--short of peace treaties with the Arab states.

"If the Israelis go fast enough and the Soviets get worried enough," he wrote, "a simple cease-fire might be the best answer. This would mean that we could use the de facto situation on the ground to try to negotiate not a return to armistice lines but a definitive peace in the Middle East.”

Mathilde Krim, still a guest in the White House, left for meetings in New York. Before departing, however, she wrote out a statement supportive of Israel which she asked the president to deliver "verbatim to the American people." Johnson was sufficiently impressed with her comments to, later in the day, read some of them to Secretary of State Dean Rusk. But the president did not, as she had asked, read them to the American people.

Jordan, treaty-bound to come to the aid of Egypt and Syria if either were attacked, had done so and, on June 7, Israel captured the Old City of Jerusalem. Also on June 7, Wattenberg and Levinson wrote in a memo to Johnson that the U.N. might attempt "to sell Israel down the river.”

They urged LBJ to support Israel's claim to the territories seized militarily. They referred to McCloskey's statement that the U.S. was neutral, suggesting LBJ issue a statement affirming total support for Israel which, they said, might stop American Jews from meeting in Lafayette Square to protest the "neutrality" statement.

While Johnson never minded getting pro-Israel advice from such close friends as Mathilde Krim or Abe Fortas, he apparently resented advice from relatively minor White House staffers such as Wattenberg and Levinson. Seeing Levinson he stormed:

"You Zionist dupe! You and Wattenberg are Zionist dupes in the White House! Why can't you see I'm doing all I can for Israel! That's what you should be telling people when they ask for a message from the president for their rally." As LBJ abruptly stormed off, Levinson reports, he stood there, "shaken to the marrow of my bones.”

Meanwhile, on the night of June 7, the USS Liberty, a Navy "ferret" ship equipped to monitor electronic communications, had approached within sight of the Gaza Strip so the National Security Agency personnel aboard could intercept the military communications jamming the air-waves. The president retired at 11:30 p.m., but White House logs reported that at one minute to midnight he got a call from Mathilde Krim, still in New York.

By June 8, despite U.S. and Soviet demands for a cease-fire, the Israelis were planning one more attack to take Syria's Golan Heights. Perhaps to prevent U.S. intelligence from learning of their plan, despite Syria's acceptance of the cease-fire, the Israelis dispatched planes to the USS Liberty. One roared over the Liberty so closely that the portholes of the aircraft's reconnaissance cameras were clearly visible. Lieutenant James M. Ennes, deck officer, saw on its wings Israel's insignia, the Star of David.

The Liberty Assault
Ennes glanced at the U.S. flag atop his ship's tall mast. If he could see the Israeli pilots in their cockpits, he reasoned, the pilots could certainly see the large U.S. flag. It was not long after the last of several such Israeli reconnaisance flights, however, that an Israeli aircraft swooped down and fired rockets directly at the Liberty. Rocket fragments and 30mm bullets punched through the heavy deck plating--and through the flesh of the stunned crewmen. Then more planes--with cannon and napalm--turned the Liberty into a floating hell of flames and screaming men.

The Israeli attacks killed 34 Americans and wounded 171. The ship was partly flooded when an Israeli torpedo boat hit the U.S. ship with a torpedo below the water line. Another machine-gunned the ship's life rafts when the crew tried to launch them.

Only by a miracle did the Liberty remain afloat. But its threat to Israel's plans was finished. The next day, June 9, Israeli forces attacked and captured the Golan Heights. On Saturday, June 10, the war's sixth day, Israel agreed to a cease-fire.

It was Rostow who first notified Johnson of the assault on the Liberty. Asked who did it, Rostow said he did not know. Later the Israelis said they had done it, by mistake.

Johnson sent an immediate report to Kosygin that the Israelis had torpedoed a U.S. ship. Thus the Kremlin now knew about the Israeli attack, but the American people did not. From the beginning, the Johnson administration covered it up. Surviving crew members were separated from each other and the Navy was ordered to make certain that no survivor talked with any reporter--or to anyone else--about the assault on the USS Liberty.

It went virtually unnoticed. Not only the crew of the USS Liberty, but all Americans were victims. Johnson and most of those who entered and left the Oval Office were oriented toward Israel. For that matter, I too, was ready and eager to believe in 1967 that the Arabs, not the Israelis, had started the war and that the bombing raid on the USS Liberty was not intentional, but a mistake.

While there can be no moral justification for the White House cover-up orders to the Navy after the assault on the Liberty, from hindsight Johnson's political motivation is obvious. It was the same motivation that led him subsequently to listen to the Jewish friends and advisers who urged him not to put any pressure on the Israelis to relinquish territories they had seized in the Six-Day War.

In 1967, President Johnson felt he needed all the support he could get to "win" in Vietnam. Many American Jews were liberals outspokenly opposed to the war there. Johnson was told if he gave all-out support to Israel--which would include ignoring the Israeli attack on the Liberty--influential Jewish Americans would stop opposing his Vietnam policies.

In a memo to the president, Wattenberg, whose parents had moved to the U.S. from Palestine and who was known as a strong supporter of the Jewish state, said flatly that if the president came out with strong support for Israel, he would win American Jewish support for the war in Vietnam. Many American Jewish leaders are "doves" on Vietnam, Wattenberg wrote, but "hawks" on a war with Arab states.

A "Bonus" for Johnson
"You stand to be cheered now by those (American Jewish leaders) who were jeering last week," Wattenberg wrote the president. He added that the Mideast crisis could be "a bonus" for Johnson. All-out support of Israel, he predicted, would "help turn around `the other war'--the domestic dissatisfaction about Vietnam.”

The support given by the American Jewish leaders "was welcome to the president," as reporter Donald Neff observed--when at every turn he was being attacked by critics, particularly in the media, of his Vietnam policy.

I was, at the time, a typical American. I was convinced back then that the Arabs had started the war--and deserved what they got. I didn't try to reason how, if the Arabs had started the war, they were surprised with their air forces on the ground and how it was that Israel so easily seized all of Palestine, including the rest of Jerusalem. Instead, like millions of Americans, I was thrilled by the might of "little Israel.”

Yet, despite the euphoria around me, what I saw in the White House planted questions in my mind. As Americans we had just passed through a dangerous Middle East conflict that threatened to explode into World War III. There were two parties to the conflict, Arabs and Jews. But for weeks on end I had seen only one set of advisers who could call or see Johnson whenever they pleased. The Arabs had no voice, no representation, no access, whatsoever.

It was only later that I came to reflect on how America, which devoted so much of the efforts of its "best and brightest" to the problem of Vietnam, had in 1967 quite unwittingly stumbled into a Middle East quagmire that, long after the fall of Saigon, would continue to enmesh U.S. soldiers and diplomats, and project an image of double standards and insincerity onto U.S. diplomacy all over the world.

Far more than his failed policies in Vietnam, the Middle East policies that LBJ allowed to fall into place in the June 1967 war would remain to haunt the U.S. for decades to come.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Halsell, Grace
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: Clinton's Ambassadorial Shift Signals No Cuts in Present U.S. Aid

Jones, Nathan. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 21.


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The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers: Clinton's Ambassadorial Shift Signals No Cuts in Present U.S. Aid
"U.S. Ambassador William Harrop has been recalled because he wasn't getting along well with either the Israelis or the Clinton administration. Most recently, he embarrassed the president just before his meeting with Rabin by warning Israelis they faced a cut in foreign aid.”

--Columnist and former AIPAC official Douglas M. Bloomfield, Washington Jewish Week, May 6, 1993
When U.S. Ambassador to Israel William Harrop suggested publicly that Israelis should prepare themselves for an inevitable reduction in U.S. assistance, President Bill Clinton withdrew him for remarks "deviating" from U.S. policy. Yet not even Israel's most devoted congressional defenders would dare to rationalize to their own constituents the crushing burden on U.S. taxpayers of annual direct U.S. government taxpayer aid to Israel. That figure has reached $6.321 billion for fiscal year 1993 (see box(1)), and Clinton's action in regard to his ambassador to Israel signals to its government that no reduction is contemplated for 1994.

Only so long as this extraordinary amount can be hidden throughout the U.S. budget, however, and the mainstream U.S. press refuses to expose it, will such amounts be sustained. Whether or not Harrop's remarks are "consistent" with current Clinton administration policy, they are accurate. They should constitute fair warning to the Israeli electorate that, despite the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel's Washington, DC lobby, at some point the U.S. public will learn what Israel is costing American taxpayers, and why.

When they do, they will rebel at paying, year after year, such a steep price for Israel's refusal to give back the land it seized in 1967, and to make the land-for-peace agreement with its Arab neighbors called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967. That resolution has been endorsed by every one of Clinton's six presidential predecessors since 1967. All knew, too, that after a Middle East peace agreement is signed, Israel no longer will need such an extraordinary share of the decreasing U.S. foreign aid budget.

In fact, President Clinton could cut more than $4 billion immediately from his government's 1994 budget by withholding direct U.S. economic and military aid to Israel until it signs a land-for-peace agreement with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors. He could save an additional $2 billion in 1994 by withholding further U.S. loan guarantees to Israel.

Of $10 billion in loan guarantees requested by Israel over the next five years, the first $2 billion installment was extended in early January, the final month of the Bush administration. The U.S. could save the remaining $8 billion, however, by refusing to make further guarantees. There are good reasons to do so, since Israel is using the money the guarantees enable it to borrow to free up funds for continued expenditures in the West Bank and Gaza on the Jewish settlements the U.S. government defines as "obstacles to peace.”

The U.S. government guarantees already are making it possible for Israeli institutions to borrow money in the United States on better terms than those available to U.S. states, counties and cities. Nor, for that matter, do any American local governments have such an abysmal credit record as that of Israel.

The government of Israel never has repaid a U.S. loan. All U.S. loans to the Israeli government eventually are forgiven by Congress, which, under the "Cranston Amendment" appended to every U.S. foreign aid bill since 1984, also appropriates enough money to cover the annual interest on all outstanding U.S. loans to Israel until those loans eventually are forgiven. Based on Israel's record to date, it is safe to say that every cent of the current U.S. loan guarantees to Israel eventually will have to be made good by U.S. taxpayers.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. David Obey (D-WI), chairmen of the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees responsible for foreign aid, both have called attention to the enormous annual U.S. government outlays to Israel. During a visit to Israel earlier this year, Leahy warned about inevitable future reductions, using words very similar to those chosen by Ambassador Harrop. However, presidents can't fire senators, not even senators from their own party.

In the absence of any effort by the Clinton administration, or the majority of congressmembers, to cut aid to Israel by tying it to Israeli performance at the peace table, below are some of the kinds of reductions Congress and the administration will be making instead.

Paying for Aid to Israel
In his 1994 budget, President Clinton dismayed conservation groups by proposing $209 million for public land purchases, a $157 million reduction from the $366 million sought by President George Bush for 1993.(2) Environmentalists and their congressional allies believe the government should utilize whatever funds are available for public land acquisition, not only to preserve vanishing habitats, but because delaying such acquisitions only increases their ultimate costs.

Assuming, as President Clinton has signaled, that the U.S. will not lower the level of its 1993 aid in 1994, it will be spending $17,317,808 per day, 365 days per year, on Israel. Therefore, by suspending U.S. aid to Israel for only 9 2/3 days, it could restore the $157 million it cut from the public land acquisitions fund for 1994.

In May, when the United States handed off responsibility for the peacekeeping operation in Somalia to the U.N., the world organization had only $14 million on hand to spend over the next six months on demobilization of the country's private armies, and retraining of Somalia's gunmen for peacetime employment after a decade of war. The reason is that many of the donors who pledged a total of $130 million for the job at a humanitarian aid conference in Ethiopia had not yet redeemed their pledges. Without funding for a comprehensive program, said World Food Program spokesman Paul Mitchell in Rome, "one of the big fears" is "that all of these militias will start to come out of the woodwork again."(3)
If all else failed, however, the U.S. could ante up the entire $130 million required for the planned six-month rehabilitation program by suspending aid to Israel for only 71?2 days and diverting the money saved to the Somalia rehabilitation program.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the World Trade Center in Manhattan, estimates that the total cost to the entire region of the March bombing, in which six people were killed and 1,000 injured, will be between $541 million and $592 million. This includes $388 million in costs to the Port Authority itself. It also includes costs to World Trade Center tenants of $132 to $160 million, another $10 million in costs to other downtown New York businesses, and losses of $24 to $41 million from disruption throughout the region. The total of all losses, insured and uninsured, direct and indirect, public and private, in New York and throughout the region, therefore, is the equivalent of 31.25 to 34.2 days of U.S. taxpayer assistance to Israel.

Such man-made catastrophes are dwarfed, however, by natural catastrophes in the U.S. like the major winter storm that raged through 24 states over the March 13-14 weekend this year, hitting Florida alone with at least 50 tornadoes. Melting snow and spring rains that followed caused further flooding and damage to houses across the Northeast corridor, bringing insurance claims from all of the private parties and businesses that suffered damage to approximately $1.625 billion. Therefore this worst catastrophe of the year to date will cost Americans the equivalent of three months (93.85 days) of U.S. aid to Israel. If that makes Israel the most expensive catastrophe to strike Americans so far this year, it's only the beginning.

The total of claims expected throughout the United States from all natural catastrophes combined this year is expected to be $2.64 billion, according to senior account executive Loretta Worters of the American Insurance Service Group, a trade association.(4) That's the equivalent of 152.44 days of aid to Israel, making annual aid to Israel more than twice as costly as the total of all natural catastrophes afflicting the United States annually.

On April 1, the Clinton administration announced a program to immunize every American child against nine childhood diseases, involving 18 different vaccination doses. According to The Washington Post, "it is unclear how the government will pay for the new program, and the source of the additional $1 billion [per year] may not be announced until the overall national health care overhaul package on which the administration is working is revealed."(5)
This extraordinary service to protect every child in America's population of some 260 million people from diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B and meningitis could be funded with the same amount U.S. taxpayers send every 57.7 days to support the 5 million people of Israel.

Scientists attending the World Health Organization meeting in London reported on April 23 that 9,000 people are dying worldwide from tuberculosis daily, and that the disease will kill more than 30 million people in the next 10 years if better control programs are not set up in the developing world.

In the U.S. alone, more than 26,000 cases were reported in 1992, an increase of 12 percent in six years. In Europe over the same period, cases increased by 30 percent, and in parts of Africa by 300 percent.

Senior management officer Richard Bumgarner of the World Health Organization's tuberculosis program says the program needs $10 million a year but receives only $2 million annually in WHO funds to help developing countries devise TB control plans and for research. The shortfall, along with funds for other programs, must be made up from donations. Wouldn't it be nice if the U.S. government were freed of Israel's "entitlement" programs, and instead could provide the entire $10 million needed for the program by skipping aid to Israel for just over half a day?

President Clinton's proposed national service program, whereby volunteers who participate in Peace Corps-type activities would receive not only the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour, but also would earn $5,000 per year in subsidies for their university or vocational training expenses, has attracted tremendous national interest among young people. While federal officials figure out how to pay for it, they are starting a pilot program this year called "Summer of Service.”

Described as "strikingly modest" by Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory, it will enroll 1,000 volunteers this summer in 11 cities chosen from 450 cities and towns that applied. What made the pilot program possible this year was $10 million appropriated for it last year.(6) If it's successful, perhaps the federal government could raise another $10 million for a 1994 "Summer of Service" program by foregoing aid to Israel for just under 14 hours. Or, just think how many dozens of programs in additional cities all over the U.S. could be covered if the federal government kicked in the cost of aid to Israel for a week or two.

Few of these things will happen, however, so long as Congress plays by "AIPAC rules," and the Clinton administration goes along with the game. It's demeaning for the president and shameful for the Congress. As for ordinary Americans, and people all over the world, whose lives might be saved or quality of life improved if just a fraction of the funds that go to Israel were available for other purposes, well, it's a pity that they don't have a powerful lobby in Washington to demand that U.S. taxpayer funds are spent on those who have the greatest need rather than those who have the greatest clout.

Nathan Jones, with roots in Belleville, Ontario, spent many years in the Middle East. He writes from Washington, DC.

Notes:

(1.) Reprinted from article by Frank Collins, Washington Report, March 1993.

(2.) Associated Press, Washington Post, p. A19, April 8, 1993.

(3.) Keith Richburg, Washington Post, May 3, 1993.

(4.) New York Times, page A4, March 31, 1993.

(5.) Spencer Rich, Washington Post, April 1, 1993.

(6.) Mary McGrory, Washington Post, May 11, 1993.

Table
Cost of U.S. Grants to Israel in Fiscal Year 1993
(in billions)
On foreign aid budget $3.091
Off foreign aid budget 1.180
Total 1993 grants $4.271
Interest paid by U.S. on money
borrowed for 1993 grants to Israel .050
Total 1993 grants and interest 4.321
U.S. loan guarantees to Israel for FY 1993 2.000
Total 1993 grants, interest and loan guarantees 6.321
Compound interest on previous grants to Israel 1951-1992 5.000
Total 1993 grants, interest, loan guarantees and compound
interest on previous grants $11.321
Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Jones, Nathan
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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What Should the U.S. Be Doing About Bosnia? Three Congressional Views

Biden, Joseph R, Jr; Feingold, Russ; McCloskey, Frank. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 26.


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What Should the U.S. Be Doing About Bosnia? Three Congressional Views
End the Paralysis and Provide Firm U.S. Leadership
In decades ahead, historians will speculate about the sequence of events in Yugoslavia that produced declarations of independence by the republics of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the summer and fall of 1991 and their subsequent recognition by the United Nations as sovereign states.

To many observers at the time, these republics had exercised the unassailable right of self-determination, a right made all the more valuable by the fact that Serbia, Yugoslavia's most powerful republic, had fallen into the hands of a ruthless Serb nationalist named Slobodan Milosevic. To others, Yugoslavia's fragmentation was a certain recipe for devastating war.

Whether wiser leadership within--and outside--Yugoslavia might have averted war will remain a question for historical debate. The issue for Western policymakers today is how to respond to the war that came.

For months, in witness to the unfolding tragedy in the former Yugoslavia, Western nations have been paralyzed by:

* confusion over their respective interests and responsibilities;
* a misperception of the conflict as an ethnic "civil war";
* hopes for a risk-free solution through diplomatic mediation; and
* what may be termed the "paradox of limited intervention": the fear that further intervention would endanger U.N. "peacekeepers" already on the ground.

Intensifying the paralysis, by depriving the world of American leadership, has been a misguided Pentagon premise that the only military option entails a massive deployment of ground forces to impose a permanent peace.

On April 15, Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sought to summon the conscience of the West to accept the imperative of military intervention. Mrs. Thatcher's call to arms reflects not emotionalism, as some labeled it, but clear judgment. In recognizing Bosnia-Herzegovina as a sovereign and independent state, the European Community, the United States, and the United Nations implied--and incurred--solemn obligations. Yet, as Serb aggression devoured Bosnia and its innocent citizens, the West has stood idle, its inaction a mockery of the concept of a new world order.

While Serb artillery batteries consummate their systematic slaughter of Bosnians--men, women and children--Western leaders have wrung their hands over the tragic complexities of a so-called civil war. The Bosnian conflict no doubt exhibits aspects of civil war. But it more precisely constitutes a calculated act of aggression incited and logistically supported by Slobodan Milosevic.

The Milosevic regime has sought rhetorical refuge in the fiction that it has sympathy for, but little control over, the conduct of the Bosnian Serbs. But this fiction--appealing to those who wish to see the conflict as something other than a brutal act of aggression--is dissolved by the fact that the Serbian army itself (the JNA) is now involved in the fighting.

During my trip to Bosnia, U.N. and U.S. military officials revealed their knowledge that JNA artillery units operating from Serbia have fired massive barrages across the border into eastern Bosnia, and that JNA units have crossed into Bosnian territory to accelerate the wanton destruction. JNA artillery units in Bratunac--on Bosnian territory--were integral to the siege and fall of Srebrenica.

The international community can no longer hide behind the excuse that this is a Balkan civil war. The plain facts remove the fig-leaf behind which the West has sought to hide its own confusion and timidity. The blood-bath in Srebrenica--a town whose name may become the Guernica of our era--was an act of international aggression by Serbia itself.

The United States must lead the West in a decisive response to Serbian aggression, beginning with air attacks on Serb artillery everywhere in Bosnia and on Yugoslav National Army units in Serbia that have participated in this international crime. Western forces should destroy every bridge across the Drina River by which Serbian authorities continue to resupply Bosnian Serbs.

These actions require no new decisions by the United Nations. They are justified under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter and by U.N. Resolution 770, passed in 1992 but still not implemented.

From talks with the most informed U.S. military officials, those fully aware of the situation on the ground in Bosnia, I am confident that the effective use of force--to deny the Serbs the victory toward which they are now headed in the face of Western apathy--would not require the introduction of a major Western ground contingent.

The Bosnian army comprises not only Muslims but thousands of Serbs and Croats who remain loyal to the Bosnian government and to the principle of a multiethnic Bosnian republic in which minority rights are honored. Nearly all Bosnian men of military age have experienced conscription and military training, and loyal Bosnians stand motivated and able to fight in their own defense. Every Bosnian I encountered, government official and common citizen alike, was convinced that they could succeed in defending their country if given the means and supported by air strikes against Serb artillery.

If the limited U.N. presence now in Bosnia cannot defend itself against possible retaliation, then the time has come to remove these men and women from harm's way or to reconfigure that force for defensive combat. In my discussions with relief officials throughout Bosnia, and with the government itself, it became clear that Bosnian civilians face a far greater threat of annihilation from Serb military attacks than from a lack of food or medicine. However well intentioned, the presence of U.N. relief personnel and peacekeeping forces, by inhibiting stronger Western action, now constitutes more an obstacle than a contribution to the humanitarian relief they were deployed to provide.

As we shift from futile half-measures, the principle of collective security and the claims of international conscience must supersede the moral torpor that has governed Western policy until now. Unless the West changes course, Milosevic and the barbarism he orchestrates will continue to operate under the shelter of Neville Chamberlain's umbrella.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



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Author Biden, Joseph R, Jr; Feingold, Russ; McCloskey, Frank
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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People Watch: Old Familiar Names

Barnes, Lucille. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 29.


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People Watch: Old Familiar Names
(Familiar names, like familiar songs, spin in and out of the media dialogue almost too rapidly for recognition. You've heard the name before, but you can't remember why. Below are some things the mainstream media may neglect to mention about names currently in the news.)
The Washington Post reported that Philip B. Heymann, who headed the criminal division of the Justice Department during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, would be named deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration. A professor at Harvard in the intervening years, he was the official who ignored an FBI recommendation that Stephen Bryen, then a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, be indicted on suspicion of offering classified U.S. government information to an Israeli official.

Then-National Association of Arab Americans official Michael Saba, now representing U.S. exporters in Saudi Arabia, told the FBI he heard Bryen making the offer in a Washington, DC coffee shop. When the FBI investigated Saba's complaint, it found Bryen's fingerprints on the document Saba heard being discussed. Saba went on to write a book, The Armageddon Network (*), on alleged Israeli spying activities in the U.S. (long before Navy counterintelligence agent Jonathan Jay Pollard was caught spying for Israel) which alleged the FBI, through electronic monitoring, also had overheard Bryen discussing classified information with Israeli Embassy officials.

Stephen Bryen went on to become a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan-era Pentagon, serving under then-Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, another long-time advocate of close U.S. ties with Israel.

Bryen is back in the news. Between his Senate and Pentagon days, he was president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which lobbies for the Israeli arms industry. At the Pentagon he was responsible for controlling the export of sensitive U.S. technology.

Since leaving the Pentagon, he has been president of Secured Communications Technologies Inc. of Silver Spring, MD, which makes security equipment to protect electronic data transmissions. He recently protested a U.S. government plan to preserve privacy in electronic communications while also ensuring the U.S. government's ability to eavesdrop when law enforcement or national security are involved.

"I think the government is creating a monster," Bryen told The New York Times. "People won't be able to trust these devices because there is a high risk that the government is going to have complete access to anything they are going to do.”

Take it from a guy who knows.

Superhawk Flies Again
Israeli superhawk Ariel Sharon, who as Menachem Begin's defense minister engineered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and as Yitzhak Shamir's housing minister accelerated the building of Jewish settlements on the Israeli- occupied West Bank, called upon his fellow Knesset members in late March to establish an emergency government in Israel, which he volunteered to head, "with the declared aim of smashing terror.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's reaction to the same emergency was to seal off the occupied territories from Israel. It caught Sharon off guard. In addition to the home he owns in the Muslim quarter of East Jerusalem's Old City, Sharon also owns a farm in Israel where West Bank Arabs do virtually all of the work. Since they no longer can get to the farm, Sharon had to turn his attention from an emergency government for Israel to emergency measures for the farm.

Meanwhile, Back in the Nest. . .

While Sharon was trying to hire Jewish labor to plow under the unharvested cabbages and cut and ship to European florists at least part of the fast-fading spring flower crop, his successful rival for leadership of the Likud party, 43-year-old Benjamin Netanyahu, was waiting eagerly for collapse of the Middle East peace talks in Washington. He reasons that such a collapse would be followed by collapse of the Rabin government, followed by new Israeli elections.

Seeking to capitalize on the stated refusal by many West Bank Jewish settlers to obey the Palestinian police called for in the Rabin government's autonomy plan, and the warning by some Jewish settlers on the Golan Heights that they will take up weapons against the Israeli army if it tries to force them to leave as part of any peace treaty with Syria, Netanyahu hopes his Likud bloc will replace Rabin's Labor coalition long before it can reach any land-for-peace agreement, or even complete its first year in office.

Substituting Iraqgate for Irangate
The Israel lobby's traditional answer to any mention of "Irangate" is to switch the subject to "Iraqgate," the charges endlessly reiterated in the Los Angeles Times and by Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Gonzales that the Bush administration coddled Iraqi President Saddam Hussain for so long after the end of the Iraq-Iran war that he decided he could get away with starting another war, this time against Kuwait. Bush administration officials have explained, time after time, that the policy was to treat the Iraqi strongman like a responsible leader in hopes of turning him into one. They admit, "It didn't work.”

Instead of letting it go at that, pro-Israel senators are using "Iraqgate" as a club to beat anyone associated with Mideast policy during the administration of George Bush, the first U.S. president to stand up to Israel since Dwight Eisenhower threatened to lift the U.S. tax exemption on funds collected for Israel if Israel didn't withdraw from Egyptian territory it had seized in 1956.

To avoid such problems, the State Department is said to be steering career foreign service officers who were serving in high-level Bush administration Near East positions in Washington as far away as possible from jobs requiring Senate confirmation hearings. Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie was dealing with environmental issues at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York, according to The Washington Post, when Madeleine K. Albright showed up in January to take over as Clinton administration ambassador to the U.N. Albright, said the Post, gave Glaspie five hours to empty her desk and return to the State Department in Washington.

James P. "Jock" Covey, a deputy assistant secretary of state in the State Department's Near East bureau during the interval between the Iran-Iraq war and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, was under consideration for assistant secretary of state for South Asia. When the State Department realized what might lie ahead, however, the idea was scratched and Covey was next considered for deputy assistant secretary for political-military affairs, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.

* The Armageddon Network by Michael Saba is available from the AET Book Club Catalog at $7.95 for one copy or two for the list price of $9.95. For U.S. addresses, add $2.50 postage and handling for the first copy, and 50 cents for each additional copy. For Canada and overseas addresses, add $4 for the first book and $1.50 for each additional copy.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.



INDEX FIELDS
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Author Barnes, Lucille
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Special Report: Bir Zeit's Hanna Nasir; Going Home to Palestine

Killgore, Andrew I. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 35.


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Special Report: Bir Zeit's Hanna Nasir; Going Home to Palestine
Hanna Nasir's eyes were misty as he told me on April 28, "I don't cry easily." As we talked, the Bir Zeit University president was interrupted constantly by congratulatory telephone calls at his office in Amman, Jordan, where he and his family have lived in exile for the past 18 years. They were going home the next day, to Israeli-occupied Palestine.

His ordeal began on a November midnight in 1974. Israeli soldiers forced their way into his house in Bir Zeit, in the occupied West Bank, and blindfolded him. He was taken from his home and expelled across the border into Lebanon on false charges that he had fomented student opposition to the Israeli occupation at Bir Zeit University.

From Lebanon he had made his way to Amman, where, eventually, his wife, Tania (Tamari) Nasir and their three children joined him when it became apparent that Dr. Nasir's expulsion from his native land was meant by Israel to be permanent.

Now, 18 years later, Hanna and Tania Nasir were making last-minute preparations for their return. Some Palestinians were arguing that no expellee should accept Israeli permission to go home until it has been granted to all of the 1,700 Palestinian leaders expelled by Israel from the West Bank and Gaza since 1967. The overwhelming consensus, however, was that the first 30 Palestinians, whose return was authorized by the Israelis as a concession to bring a Palestinian delegation back to Washington for the ninth round of peace talks, should accept the concession to establish their right to reside in their native land. In addition to Hanna Nasir, they include such well known leaders as former mayor of Arab Jerusalem Rawhi Al-Khatib and former mayor of Al-Bireh, Abdul Jawad Saleh.

Stirred by Deep Emotions
The Nasirs and other "returnees" were stirred by deep emotions. Congratulations from relatives, friends and well-wishers were pouring in from all over the world. And there were messages from those who were waiting to receive them after so many years. A faxed message from his sister, Samia Khoury, in Beit Hanina in the West Bank, described how their aunt in Bir Zeit, now blind and in her 90s, had prayed for years that she would live long enough to see Hanna and his family back home. And now she felt that her prayers had been answered.

Dr. Nasir said he had been overcome with emotion when he read his sister's message. But when I visited him there was no time for emotion. Details had to be seen to, and there were questions still unanswered.

What about his books? Could they be brought in later? Could the family send later for their other valued possessions too bulky to take with them now?

Israeli permission for his return, he said, was only a gesture.

What about their friends and neighbors in Amman, where the Nasirs had built a new life? Eighteen years was a long time. And what could they say to the other 1,700 expellees, minus 30, and their families, perhaps as many as 8,000 souls? When would they all be able to go back home?

As we talked about the journey he was to begin the next day, Dr. Nasir already was looking beyond it to the still cloudy future. Israeli permission for his return, he said, was only a gesture. It does not address the question of when he and his compatriots will be able to exercise the human rights of which all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation have been deprived, along with the rights to their land. And if, eventually, the "peace process" restores sovereignty, civil rights, and control over their land and water to citizens of a democratic Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza, what then?

How long will non-Jewish Palestinian residents of an adjacent "democratic Israel" be content with an empty citizenship, devoid of the rights and privileges accorded only to Jewish holders of Israeli "nationality"? Would the Muslim and Christian Palestinians inside Israel itself press for the same rights enjoyed by their brothers and sisters in a democratic Palestine? And, in that case, asked Hanna Nasir, what will happen to Israel as "the Jewish state" and its unique two-tiered system where full rights of citizenship can be exercised only by those citizens who also possess "Jewish nationality"?

There are many such troubling questions, he pointed out, as he prepared to return to what turned out the next day to be a tumultuous welcome by thousands of his fellow Palestinians. Such questions, he added, will not be solved by mere gestures.

Articles may be reprinted with proper attribution, except for photos and cartoons. Article copyright American Educational Trust.

Photo (Welcoming Bir Zeit University President Hanna Nasir)


INDEX FIELDS
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Author Killgore, Andrew I
Publication date Jul 30, 1993
Publication title The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Publication year 1993


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Public Opinion: More Americans Back Intervention

Holden, Kurt. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 12. 1 (Jul 30, 1993): 39.


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Public Opinion: More Americans Back Intervention
An April 28 poll by the Gallup organization conducted for Cable News Network and USA Today found 62 percent of respondents opposed to U.S. air strikes against Serbian targets and 30 percent in favor.

A poll designed by President Clinton's pollster, Stanley Greenburg, and sponsored by the Americans Talk Issues Foundation, shows rapid movement toward a more pro-interventionist stance, however. The results, reported in the May 11 Wall Street Journal, showed that in late February only 14 percent of Americans responded that the U.S. and the U.N. had not gone far enough to stop the killing in Bosnia. Asked the same question early in May, 45 percent of respondents said the response in Bosnia had not gone far enough. In the latter poll of more than 1,000 adults, only 8 percent said the U.S. and U.N. had gone too far.

Israelis Split Over Prime Minister
Asked who is best qualified to be their prime minister, Israeli respondents to a public opinion poll released by the Tel Aviv newspaper Yediot Ahronot on April 2 split their support evenly between Labor Party leader and incumbent Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Likud Party leader Benjamin Natanyahu, at 38 p